Monday, 21 June 2010
Questions without Notice
Building the Education Revolution Program
My question is to the Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion. Will the minister inform the House of progress with the Trade Training Centres in Schools Program, threats to its future rollout and threats to other government programs, especially in western New South Wales?
I thank the member for Macquarie for his question. He is someone who stands up for his electorate in this parliament. Particularly, he has stood up for his electorate when it comes to investment in local schools. I am asked about our Trade Training Centres in Schools Program, and I am very pleased to report to the House that already the Rudd government has approved funding for 230 trade training centres, benefiting 732 schools. This is a program that is being rolled out exactly as was promised. Over 10 years, each school is entitled to a grant of between half a million dollars and $1½ million, and schools have chosen to work together to make multimillion dollar facilities. Every time the opposition criticises that, it is criticising the choices made by school principals to get bigger facilities. By the end of this year, approximately 68 trade training centre projects will be complete, benefiting 173 schools. Trade training centres are going to enable kids to get the real skills they need for real jobs.
Of course, the opposition is completely opposed to giving kids that kind of chance of getting real skills for real jobs. If the opposition is elected, it will stop approximately 900 schools benefiting from the trade training centre program over the next four years, and 1,800 schools will be prevented from benefiting in total. Even worse than that, it will rip money directly out of the hands of around 200 schools which have been promised that money—the Leader of the Opposition is going to come along and rip that money out of the schools’ hands.
Today I can report to the House that round 3 of the Trade Training Centres in Schools Program closed on 4 June and, when the closing date arrived and the applications came in, there were 73 applications from 214 schools. The funding requested was $242 million; the funding available in this round is $103 million, meaning that it is oversubscribed by $139 million. Under the Rudd government an independent panel will assess these applications, pick the schools to benefit in this round and then schools that have not benefited in this round or earlier rounds will be able to apply over the 10-year program so that every school benefits. But, if the Leader of the Opposition is elected, none of the schools that have put applications forward in this round will ever see one cent—not one of those schools that have laboured hard on their applications will ever see one cent.
Of course, the hunt continues for someone in the opposition who will stand up for their electorate and stand up to the Leader of the Opposition about these cutbacks. I ask today: will the member for Calare be someone who stands up for his electorate? He represents 27 schools participating in six trades training centre projects. He wrote to me in December last year asking for more money for training apprentices in schools and he said in relation to some of the successful trades training centre schools: ‘I congratulate those schools for their foresight in applying for and receiving this funding.’ Well, I trust the member for Calare will now go back to his constituents and suggest that they have the foresight to select a member of parliament that will stand up for their interests and deliver trades training centres to their local schools.