06th February 2024 12:29
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:29): 

Ballarat’s Federation TAFE recently announced a partnership to provide Australia’s first nationally accredited training course in medicinal cannabis cultivation and production. This is a great step towards ensuring Victoria can reap the benefits of the medicinal cannabis industry, but unfortunately the industrial hemp industry in Victoria does not receive as much support. With that being said, the recent partnership between Australian Primary Hemp and SuniTAFE to conduct pilot hemp trials is progress,

but there is still more to be done. So my question is: would the minister consider funding a similar training course for those seeking training in industrial hemp cultivation and production?

Gayle TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Skills and TAFE, Minister for Regional Development) (12:30): 

I thank the member for her question. Indeed getting a question about skills, training and TAFE is quite exciting, because those opposite do not seem to be interested in it at all. In respect to the issue that you raised, this was an application that was made to a particular fund that is in my portfolio area but administered by the department.

If the fund is still open, I would encourage those people to have a look at the guidelines and to submit an application. Of course the panel that looks at these applications also looks at the data that is provided by the Victorian Skills Authority and the information that is provided in relation to new and emerging technologies and industries and tries to match up applications and the veracity of those applications to the actual labour market needs.

They are some of the considerations that are looked at by the panel, and all I would say is that I would encourage industries who have got labour and skills shortages to have a look at the various forms of funding that are available to them to ensure that they have got an alignment of the skills that are required in their industry now and into the future.

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:31): 

I thank the minister for her response, and I also note the hemp inquiry made some recommendations in that similar space. By way of supplementary, I ask: what other education opportunities are currently available through Victoria’s TAFE system that may interest those who wish to become industrial hemp growers?

Gayle TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Skills and TAFE, Minister for Regional Development) (12:32): 

Thank you again for the opportunity to talk about TAFE and indeed the alignment of the delivery of what we have in the TAFE system to what is needed in the labour market. What we have attempted to do in all sorts of ways is to identify the government’s priority areas. Obviously they are the health area, the care economy, the environment and of course renewable energy – and  housing,

absolutely, with Minister Shing. These are the sorts of areas that are incredibly important, but agriculture is incredibly important too, so that is why we – fairly recently – put horticulture on the free TAFE list. There are a range of agricultural courses that were also put on the free TAFE list. Indeed I have got to use this opportunity to give a shout-out to regional TAFE, because I think they have done a superb job in getting the message out to their communities about the types of courses that are being run – (Time expired)


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