Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Questions without notice

State Electricity Commission


State Electricity Commission

Sarah CONNOLLY (Laverton) (14:39): My question is to the Minister for Education representing the Minister for Training and Skills. Minister, this government’s commitment to the skills and training sector has helped thousands of people in my electorate of Laverton re-skill and land a solid job. How will the publicly owned SEC support people of all ages to skill up and train as part of our renewables workforce?

Natalie HUTCHINS (Sydenham – Minister for Education, Minister for Women) (14:40): Thank you to the member for Laverton for her question, which comes to me as the minister acting for the Minister for Training and Skills in the other place. I know that the member for Laverton herself understands that bringing back the SEC here will not just drive down bills, will not just boost renewable energy but will create thousands of highly skilled jobs, high-paying jobs, for Victorian workers. We know that this is going to deliver. Bringing back the SEC will be a key component of Victoria achieving its renewable energy targets, as outlined by our fantastic minister, delivering 65 per cent by 2023 and 95 per cent by 2035.

I am so proud to say that this government has invested and is committing to $424 million in energy and training packages to help workers upskill, and not only that, to bring new people into about 6000 new positions for apprentices, for trainees – key elements in bringing back the SEC. I am proud to say this is not just about the SEC. You will find that this is about training the next generation of tradespeople: tradesmen, tradeswomen, maintenance workers, electricians, welders, painters, mechanics – mechanics that we desperately need. The SEC will be a game changer for young people in Victoria, and this government is offering those pathways through this commitment.

As the Minister for Education, I am very excited that this government is already reforming the two years of senior secondary with the introduction of a VCE vocational major that has started to roll out this year. This will support the transition of students through vocational pathways to meet the needs of many growing industries, which is why we can add clean energy to the list of VCE majors, giving Victoria’s students the opportunity to take advantage of Victoria’s investment in renewable energies. Across government schools the SEC will be at careers nights. They will be recruiting the workers of the future, highlighting employment opportunities in the renewables sector.

We will also support 10,000 secondary students to undertake a week of work experience in the clean energy sector. This is a fantastic commitment – 10,000 students having that opportunity to see what it is, firsthand, that SEC jobs can offer them. The focus on clean energy will be underpinned by our commitment to invest $116 million to open six new cutting-edge TAFE and tech schools, utilising Victoria’s TAFE network and giving secondary students a head start on a hands-on experience.

Emma Kealy: On a point of order, Speaker, the minister appears to be reading notes. I ask her to make those notes available to the house.

The SPEAKER: Is the minister reading notes?

Natalie Hutchins interjected.

The SPEAKER: The minister is referring to her notes.

Natalie HUTCHINS: I know those opposite would not care about what we are investing with TAFE into registered training organisations, into industry to be able to deliver the experience of clean energy to the future workforce that we have here in Victoria. We are putting that front and centre with our commitments that I am taking the house through today. The government is doing what we can –that is, providing what matters to young people, with the skills and training they need so the jobs of tomorrow will be available to them now and into the future.