Article Categories: Speeches, Education and Training
Mr NEVILLE (3.09 p.m.)—My question is addressed to the Minister for Vocational and Further Education. Would the minister inform the House how new Australian technical colleges in cities like Gladstone and Townsville will boost skills and employment in regional Queensland.
Mr ROBB—I would like to thank the member for Hinkler for his question and at the same time warmly congratulate the community and the industry in his part of the world, in Northern Queensland, for the way they have so enthusiastically embraced the technical colleges in Gladstone and Townsville. The people in Northern Queensland have really got behind this initiative, because they understand very clearly the importance of these colleges to maintain the very high growth and the jobs that are so much a part of that region. Already this week we have seen some hundreds of students start at those two colleges, taking up building and construction, electrotechnology, commercial cooking, automotive metals and engineering. The reaction in Northern Queensland is mirrored across Australia.
Mr Brendan O’Connor interjecting—
The SPEAKER—Order! I call the member for Gorton to order.
Mr ROBB—I would like to give a couple of impressions from students who began this week in colleges in different parts of Australia. Louise Brown, who started this week at the Illawarra technical college, said in the Illawarra Mercury this week: ‘I think it’s a great opportunity for education and also a trade in electrical. I’ll have an advantage with the HSC and a trade. It will be difficult, but I’ll really try to do well and strive for high achievements.’ Aspiring electrician Nick Habibeh, who is attending the Western Sydney technical college, said this week in the Blacktown City Sun, ‘The college will give me more opportunities and will also shorten my apprenticeship.’ Cherie Martin, whose son Ryan is attending the northern Adelaide technical college—he hopes to become a sparky like his dad by studying electrotechnology—said this week in the Adelaide Advertiser, ‘It’s absolutely brilliant because all the subjects are relevant to the workplace.’
Mr Adams interjecting—
The SPEAKER—Order! The member for Lyons is called to order.
Mr ROBB—These 20 colleges—which have gone from an idea to reality in just under 15 months, a remarkable achievement—have struck a chord across Australia amongst the community, industry and students.
Mr Byrne interjecting—
The SPEAKER—Order! The member for Holt is warned.
Mr ROBB—They will deliver many thousands of highly qualified tradesmen and tradeswomen in the years ahead. Just as importantly, they will build on the hopes and self-esteem of many thousands of young Australians.
Mr Howard—Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.
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