TAFE SA Reviews

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (12:48): I rise to support this motion by the member for Heysen:

That this house—

(a) notes the reports of the Quality Review and the Strategic Capability Review into TAFE SA;

(b) welcomes the government's response to these reports as outlined in A Fresh Start for TAFE SA;

(c) congratulates those in the TAFE SA organisation who have contributed to improvements in training delivery for South Australian students; and

(d) expresses serious concerns about the failures of government oversight that led to the concerning findings identified in the reviews into TAFE SA.

There were some serious findings, and it showed the lack of respect that the previous Labor government had for TAFE and in training future people to different trades and experience so that they could strengthen the South Australian economy and businesses.

It is such a disgrace that when a random audit was done 16 out of 16 failures happened from that audit. They have since been put on the way to being remedied or have been remedied. The issue we have is that in this space we have other training providers who obviously have to cut their cloth. They have to make it operate and they have to do it effectively within budgets and on time lines, yet under the previous Labor government we saw TAFE being put up like a bloated organisation that did not deliver outcomes and caused a lot of distress within other competing training providers in this space.

Thank goodness we have come into government. It is not just in regard to TAFE. The general state of South Australia is extremely pleased that we have come in to right the ship of this state so we can support business, so we can support home owners and so we can support training. As the Minister for Industry explained, we need to get that training back on track. We saw the previous Labor government let training go. Just as we have all these shipbuilding programs and submarine-building programs coming into South Australia, all of a sudden we find out that we have not had enough people trained up, because of the previous government's attitude to training, to take over these worthwhile projects and worthwhile jobs that will be such a boon for the South Australian economy for many years to come.

I was intrigued to hear the contribution of the Deputy Speaker, the member for Flinders, about on-farm training. Yes, I was part of that in the early 1980s as well. It was a good course that went through a whole range of procedures, whether it was sheep handling, wool handling, shearing or tractor driving. I just want to acknowledge Chris Trethewey—that is a good Kangaroo Island name. I ran into him a few years ago; it was very nice to catch up with him. He did excellent teaching for us as young men in that program, and he set us on our paths in the farming industry.

This is the type of training that needs to go on. I acknowledge the wool handling and shearing training that are so vital to this state. We have seen across the nation sheep numbers dropping probably something like 100 million from where they were at their peak. There were a lot of other breeds of sheep coming in that do not need shearing and that kind of thing. It is a vital industry that we need to support into the future.

It is almost amusing that the other day, as a former shearer, I told my staff I had to go down to a shearing school at Ki Ki, at the family shed of Trevor and Craig Watts, and have a discussion about wool handling with the students and the lecturer. 'Being a former shearer,' I said, 'I better shear a couple.'

An honourable member interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: Well, I was pleased and a little bit surprised: I managed to knock them out in four minutes each. I did one and thought, 'Well, I've done one; I better do another one.' It was just nice to pick up the handpiece again, but my body felt like I had shorn 200, and I had only done two.

The Hon. V.A. Chapman interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: I did have a singlet. It was a big singlet. It is one of those vital rural industries that we really do need to support to make sure we get the right outcomes into the future, supporting our farmers and graziers at such a tough time in recent times. As we have pointed out, there is a clear need for reform in the vocational education and training system in South Australia. As I have indicated, the former government totally failed the training sector, highlighted by the Skills for All blowout and then the WorkReady mess.

At the same time, the former Labor government's oversight of TAFE SA and TAFE SA's leadership failed staff, students and the people of South Australia. The Australian Skills Quality Authority findings in 2017 of TAFE South Australia highlighted serious issues of quality across all qualifications that were audited. The failings of those audits have been mentioned in various speeches from this side of the house. It is good to see that TAFE South Australia is back on the right track. I, too, in my closing comments would like to acknowledge the fine work of Alex Reid and also the new board and the new leadership in TAFE. I wish them all the best in steering this ship into brighter outcomes in the future.