Page 4504 / 4505 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Thursday, 4 March 2021
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:19): My question is to the Minister for Innovation and Skills. Can the minister advise the house of the process and direction that will be undertaken with the government’s skills training system through the South Australian Skills Commission and industry skills councils? With your leave and that of the house, sir, I will explain further.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK: In the minister’s media statement released today, the minister
stated, ‘It is critical that the skills training we provide meets the needs of the businesses and industries that underpin the South Australian economy and the jobs they create.’ My question is: will TAFE facilities or campuses, in particular regional TAFE campuses and staff, be integral participants in this process?
The Hon. D.G. PISONI (Unley—Minister for Innovation and Skills) (15:20): Well, the short answer is yes. It’s just a pity that the member didn’t have as much enthusiasm for TAFE campuses when he was a member of the government and they closed 14—
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. D.G. PISONI: —TAFE campuses, predominantly in regional South Australia.
The SPEAKER: Order! The minister will resume his seat.
The Hon. D.G. PISONI: Six hundred TAFE staff—
The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat.
The SPEAKER: I warn the Minister for Innovation and Skills for a second time. Members on my left will cease interjecting. Did the member for Frome rise on a point of order?
The Hon. G.G. BROCK: Yes, Mr Speaker. I personally take offence at that because, as the minister understands, each minister has their own responsibility. I do take offence at him bringing that up.
The SPEAKER: Order! Member for Frome, no explanation is required. The member for Frome takes offence at the remark of the Minister for Innovation and Skills. I ask the Minister for Innovation and Skills in the circumstances to withdraw.
The Hon. D.G. PISONI: Could the member clarify what he takes offence to, sir?
The SPEAKER: Order, member for Lee! Should the member for Frome elect to repeat or further particularise, I will give him the opportunity to do so.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK: Yes, Mr Speaker. He indicated that I took no interest in the directions of the TAFE facilities. I take offence at that because, as the minister knows himself, each minister has responsibility and it’s a cabinet decision that is made.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Frome has indicated that he takes offence. In accordance with standing order 125, in those circumstances it is appropriate for the member to withdraw on my request. I request the Minister for Innovation and Skills to withdraw.
The Hon. D.G. PISONI: I withdraw, sir. I think the chamber—
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. D.G. PISONI: —needs to understand that the member for Frome was the minister for regional development.
The Hon. S.C. MULLIGHAN: Point of order, sir.
The SPEAKER: Order! The minister will resume his seat. The member for Lee on a point of order.
Ms Cook interjecting:
The SPEAKER: The member for Hurtle Vale will cease interjecting. The member for Lee on a point of order.
The Hon. S.C. MULLIGHAN: The point of order, Mr Speaker, is standing order 98: the minister is clearly debating in his answer, rather than answering the question. He was asked a very specific question about the future direction of the skills council, and all he is doing is hacking into the member for Frome.
The SPEAKER: Order, members on my right! The occasion to raise a point of order is not
an opportunity to debate the matter. I uphold the point of order. The Minister for Innovation and Skills will direct his answer to the question. The minister has the call.
The Hon. D.G. PISONI: Thank you, sir. The member for Frome will be pleased to know that our VET Commissioning program will see more TAFE delivery in regional South Australia. We need to look at where we started with TAFE when we came to office.
The Hon. S.C. Mullighan interjecting:
The SPEAKER: Member for Lee!
The Hon. D.G. PISONI: Sixteen random audits by ASQA were failed. We saw that TAFE was decimated with the closure of 14 TAFE campuses around the state. We saw 600 staff on voluntary separation packages since 2014. Remember that at the same time we saw an end to non-government providers having access to the Subsidised Training List.
We established Industry Skills Councils, and we have rural representation on those Industry Skills Councils over eight sector areas who guide the government through the new Skills Commission to where the skills shortages are and what the barriers are to taking on apprentices and trainees. In the 2½ years or so since we launched our Skilling South Australia program, we have seen some tremendous results—33,000 commencements, apprentices and trainees under the national partnership in that period.
We have seen an increase, from March to March, of 11.9 per cent. We saw an increase, finishing the financial year to June, of 2.1 per cent in commencements. Nationally, we saw reductions. The member has every right to be excited about what is happening in regional South Australia with TAFE because they are part of the plan for returning skills training to regional South Australia.