The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(14:49:38): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills questions regarding the government's industry leaders groups.
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: In answers to questions raised by members in this place on two occasions last week, the minister highlighted the establishment by the Department of State Development of 15 industry leaders groups, which apparently have been established to, and I quote from the minister's answer:
…help government understand and respond to the workforce challenges experienced by industry and employers in each of the different regions.
The minister went on to state in her next answer that the former Skills for All program, which these groups, along with the WorkReady program, will replace was, and I quote:
The Skills for All model was a demand-driven model. Basically, people who wanted training could come in and subsidised training was made available for them .
U nder WorkReady …W e have set up industry leaders' groups to help us, so there are now more of those with key industry people on them who help us align more directly with industry outcomes…You can see that we have learned a great deal from Skills for All.
Given that, my questions are:
1.Will the minister advise the council where the 15 industry leaders groups are based and how they relate to the government's own regions?
2.Will the minister also advise the council who selected the members of these groups and who was responsible for appointing the chairs of the groups?
3.Will the minister advise the council how often these industry leaders groups are meeting and whether the members are paid?
4.Will the minister explain how the establishment of these 15 new groups fits in with the state government's recent actions to cut down on the number of government boards and committees in South Australia?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO(Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers)(14:52:02): I thank the honourable member for his most important question. Indeed, our industry leaders groups and the work we have done, particularly in relation to our Skills for Jobs in Regions program and now under WorkReady, will evolve and be developed into a jobs first program, in which our industry leaders groups will continue to play a really important role in helping us to understand the industry needs of regions and help to communicate that with our training outcomes. There are currently 15 industry leaders groups, roughly one per region, I understand. There are some additional ones as well, but it is roughly one per region and where they are needed—
The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins: Well, I would like you to explain that.
The Hon. G.E. GAGO: Well, I am happy to provide that information. They are generally driven by industry and business groups that identify a regional need and come together to respond to that regional need. So they roughly reflect the regions, but what they do is they reflect locality requirements. We are happy for them to be developed wherever business groups and industries determine a need could be fulfilled, and we encourage that. It should be driven from the ground up, not from the department down.
Our regional officers are the ones who have coordinated these leaders groups. I think that is also in consultation with RDAs, local councils and other business and industry organisations. In terms of their appointment, I think it is self-selecting, but I am happy to get the details of the questions asked by the honourable member and bring those back. But my understanding is that it is pretty much self-selecting; that is, those industry people who believe that they have something valuable to contribute join up.
My understanding is the frequency of the meetings is as frequently as they determine and that they are useful. In terms of payment, I am not sure whether there is any assistance with the transport costs and such like. They don't come under our boards and committees so they don't receive payment in that respect. As I said, I am happy to check all the details of the questions asked and my responses and bring back a response.
I will take this opportunity to say that these are very important groups. The government very much values the contribution they make. They are, as I said, local businesspeople and without their on-the-ground knowledge and understanding of what's going on in the regions it would make our job much more difficult in ensuring that we have the skilled labour force needs appropriate to each regional location.
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(14:55:54): Will the minister confirm that her reference to these groups being self-selecting means that anybody who put their hand up to be on that group would be accepted?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO(Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers)(14:56:10): As I said, Mr President, I am happy to bring the details back, but my understanding is pretty much that it is self-selecting, but I will double-check that.
The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins: That would be bizarre.
The Hon. G.E. GAGO: The honourable member says that's bizarre. I find it incredible. These are business interests and industry interests in regions that drive an outcome. This government is often accused of being very heavy-handed and very bureaucratic, and when we actually encourage businesses to get together in a way that is meaningful and meets their own local needs the honourable member criticises.
I think the opposition just want to have a good whinge here today. They are just whingeing. They are obviously incredibly embarrassed about their federal Liberal colleagues, terribly embarrassed about the federal Liberal budget that rips the heart and soul out of South Australia and leaves us high and dry, They are clearly incredibly embarrassed and are coming here today, having a good old whinge and calling us names.