Ms TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) (09:58:58) — I rise this morning to talk about the Victorian Training Awards. I had the pleasure and the privilege of presenting our training awards to vocational education and training (VET) students, teachers, training providers and employers, recognising and honouring their outstanding achievements. These awards showcase not only the outstanding efforts of so many individuals and organisations but also the fantastic training and skills development underway in Victoria, all backed by a government that cares deeply about training and TAFE, which we know are critical to driving our state’s productivity and growth.
I take this opportunity to congratulate all finalists and winners, but in particular I wish to mention the winner in the category of Victorian Koorie Student of the Year. That was awarded to Tracy Mollison. Tracy Mollison has faced enormous adversity throughout her life, and this award is greatly deserved. Tracy has studied a number of certificates at SuniTAFE, including a certificate IV in training and assessment. Tracy, whose parents were fruit pickers, was sent to about 36 different schools. She decided that she would go back and have post-school training and education, and by doing so would be a beacon and an authority to her family in demonstrating that it can be done.
Tracy has undertaken these certificates whilst working in the home, raising five children and also assisting and raising her many grandchildren. She has also juggled paid employment as well. I met Tracy for the first time only a couple of weeks ago, when I was in Mildura at SuniTAFE to make some announcements. She desperately wanted to be there and made her way there, even though she had only just been released from hospital some three days earlier after recovering from a very serious illness. She wanted to be there to share with me and those around her the great pride and joy that she has for the SuniTAFE Victorian certificate of applied learning (VCAL) students who she led to landscape and plant the courtyard of its Indigenous training centre.
Tracy is a testament to all students in our VET sector who have faced adversity every day. She is also a testament to SuniTAFE, who have supported Tracy to complete her training. I am very proud of our TAFE and training system, which is helping people like Tracy further themselves, giving them the skills they need for the jobs that they want.