Further Education and Training (Training Ombudsman) and Another Act Amendment Bill

Extract from Hansard – Thursday 25 February, 2016.

Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (4.05 pm): I could not let the opportunity pass by this afternoon to talk about TAFE and its importance in our educational system. I am very pleased the minister is here to listen to what I intend to say. She would know that I have made two very interesting offers to her this week—

Government members interjected.

Mr ELMES: They are not quite as exciting as one might think. One involved a nice bottle of red and the other involved a very strange membership that I offered to undertake. I did want to make mention of TAFE and its position in my community. There was a magnificent TAFE college set up in I think 2004 as an arts based facility, and it did that very well. There was very little about that TAFE college that actually delivered training and jobs. To give the House an example, in the area of hospitality there was a number of different modules, half of which you could do at the Noosa TAFE and for the rest you had to go to Mooloolaba. Over a period of time the number of people attending that TAFE college become fewer and fewer to the point a couple of years ago when I think the final number was about 250, and I know that 44 of those were high school students who were doing TAFE courses but who did not attend the campus itself.

TAFE decided that it wanted out of that facility. They are still providing a very valuable service at a different place in town called The J. What we have now is a magnificent facility that is sitting there slowly crumbling away. My plea to the minister is that my community, through Noosa council, has made an offer. We think it is a fair offer. We also know that, unless the fairy godmother comes along, it is probably the only offer that is on the books to buy that facility from the government so that we can create a local job-training facility. Everyone in my community is looking forward to being able to do that.

I wanted to take this time to make a plea to the minister about this facility which is sitting there, not being used. There have already been a couple of attempts of vandalism at the site. The amount of money that the government inevitably will get for it will decrease as the facility continues to degrade. I am all for TAFE. I am all for a reinvigorated TAFE. I am all for the education that TAFE provides, and I hope that TAFE in my part of the world at The J continues to do what it does, because it does it very well.

My plea to the minister is let us provide you with some money to help pay down the debt and do whatever Curtis Pitt would like to do with it. Allow my community the opportunity to set up this facility to train young people and give them a start in life but for it to be done in a way that suits our particular needs in my part of the world. With that, I might withdraw the second offer and get your comments on it.