House debates

Tuesday, 20 June 2023

Statements by Members

Puffett, Mr Bob, AM

1:41 pm

Photo of Gordon ReidGordon Reid (Robertson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I rise to pay tribute to the life and work of Bob Puffett AM, a passionate champion of vocational education and skills development. Bob was a plumber by trade and then moved into teaching plumbing at TAFE. This began a lifelong commitment to elevating the profile of vocational education in New South Wales, and during his illustrious career Bob held the positions of Institute Director of the Sydney Institute of Technology and Assistant Director-General, TAFE, for the Department of Education and Training. He worked hard to make TAFE an institution that strived for excellence so TAFE students would be proud of their trade and themselves. After introducing academic dress at TAFE graduations, Bob said: 'Why not TAFE? We attracted some criticism at the time, but almost overnight the perception of the courses, the pride of the students and the commitment of the staff changed dramatically, and it was a good thing to do.'

Bob was also elected chairman of WorldSkills Australia, and was Australia's official delegate to the international WorldSkills movement. In 1998 he was honoured by being made a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to technical education. Following his retirement, Bob and his family moved to the Central Coast, where he remained an active member of the community. He was the president of the Bays Community group for 16 years and was instrumental in upgrading the Bays Community Hall and making it accessible for all. I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Bob's family, his son, his daughter and his grandchildren. Vale Bob Puffett, and thank you for your service.