Thursday, 1 August 2019
Questions without Notice
Vocational Education and Training
My question is to the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Cash. On 14 July the minister posted two tweets following a meeting she had with the CEO of a Western Australian firm Stirling Skills Training. In the tweets the minister endorsed the firm as an, 'integral part of the vocational education scene in Perth for over 30 years.' Can the minister confirm that her own regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority, has cancelled Stirling Skills Training's registration for non-compliance on 16 grounds, including failing to ensure marketing information is accurate and factual and for issues with training, assessment, strategies and practises?
Thank you for anticipating my next question. Can the minister confirm that Stirling Skills Training, the firm about which she tweeted, is currently appealing the cancellation of its registration in the AAT, and that, while the appeal is underway, the Australian Skills Quality Authority has ordered the firm to neither enrol nor train additional students? Why did the minister think it was appropriate to endorse this firm?
I was unaware at the time when I met with the firm that this was the case. The only thing I discussed with them was youth unemployment. As I said, the matter is currently under appeal before the AAT.
Why should Australians have confidence in a cabinet minister whose office leaks police raids on union offices and now promotes a business that her own agency has deregistered?
I obviously completely reject the premise of the question, but it has now given me an opportunity to spend the next 55 seconds talking about how on this side of the chamber we cleaned up the mess created by the former Labor government when it came to vocational education within Australia. When, I think, the former Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten, was the relevant minister, he actually ripped the guts—
As I was saying, under the former Labor government, they actually ripped the guts out of the employer incentives when it came to taking on apprentices. That actually resulted in a decline in the number of young people going into apprentices. But they didn't stop there, colleagues. That wasn't good enough. They wanted to destroy the sector even further. And so they introduce a system—a total complete and utter disaster—known as VET FEE-HELP. Yet again we came into office and cleaned up their mess, so Australians can have confidence in those of us on this side of the chamber.