Letters to the editor

Skills, TAFE and Training

The Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, needs a reality check before waxing lyrical about the Turnbull government’s record on skills and apprenticeships.

In the last five years, the Liberals have cut more than $3 billion from vocational education and training, and a further $270 million from apprenticeship support in the 2018 Budget alone.

The number of students enrolled in TAFE has plummeted by 24.5 per cent since the Liberal Government came to office. Around Australia, TAFE campuses have closed, courses have been cut and students are being locked out due to increased fees.

The system has been damaged by privatisation, poor regulation and unhealthy competition. The Liberals have failed to improve the quality of courses, reduce costs and increase access to education and training.

In regard to shipbuilding, let’s not forget it was Mr Ramsey’s Liberal colleague David Johnston that infamously said that South Australians workers could not be trusted to “build a canoe”.

This nonsense attitude was completely repudiated last week when the hardworking and talented ASC Shipbuilding workforce was chosen to partner BAE Systems to build the Future Frigate Program.

It was also Mr Ramsey’s Liberal colleagues that drove Holden out of South Australia, effectively ending the car industry in this country.

And it was Labor that committed to investing $1 million to establish a state-of-the-art welding facility at Regency TAFE to train South Australian shipbuilders.

If elected, Labor will provide $100 million to the Building TAFE for the Future Fund to commence a program of revitalising campuses across Australia. Labor will also conduct a once in a generation inquiry into the post-secondary education system within the first 100 days of being elected.

Labor has committed that at least two thirds of all government funding for vocational education will go to TAFE. The balance will go to not-for-profit community and adult educators and only the very best of the private providers with demonstrable links to specific industry requirements.

TAFE is the anchor for a quality vocational education and training. If it is properly supported and resourced, it gives Australia a significant competitive advantage.

I would therefore encourage Mr Ramsay to do a bit of homework on his government’s abject failures on TAFE, vocational education and apprenticeships before he bursts into print next time.


Bruce Wilson's Pub Test

After more than three years Bruce Wilson now relies on the "pub test" to promise 45 jobs for the nuclear dump, (Eyre Peninsula Tirbune, July 2018) for Hawker or Kimba but when I visited ANSTO at Lucas Heights in October 2017 the jobs promised were 15.

It is hard to imagine what everyone will do with the annual production of two or three truckloads of low level nuclear waste per year that comprises 92 per cent of all waste produced at Lucas Heights which has so competently managed the waste for 60 years in their 450 hectares mentioned in ANSTO's annual report.

I know the government still has to shift the 2000 cubic metres of low level waste mixed with intermediate level waste which remains at Woomera after 20 years or more.

Unfortunately, I can't run a grain export business based on a "pub test".

I have to rely on the whims of a local or world market which must be absolutely assured that consumers are getting the best product at the most competitive price.

As far as $2 million grants for Kimba or Hawker being remarkable "opportunities", the local export businesses of Eyre Peninsula reliant on hundreds of millions of dollars per year is what 99 per cent plus of the rest of us must rely on if we run domestic and food export businesses.

Pub tests simply don't cut the mustard and are ultimately irrelevant to the business balance sheet.



Opportunities for Kimba

Opportunities for Kimba and the surrounding region will be plentiful with the chance to host a fully government funded, highly regulated and safe new industry in Kimba housing Australia’s low –intermediate radioactive waste.

As a farmer I was pleased to read about the minister’s agriculture round table recently held between various Australian and South Australian farmer representative bodies, the independent regulators, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, the Department of Environment, and others to discuss the regulatory and monitoring systems.

I understand that radioactive waste facilities and farms have co-existed for decades in Australia and around the world, and even in our state we have ports sharing loading facilities for agricultural and radioactive commodities.  

We have organic pastoral properties surrounding Olympic Dam and even Port Pirie has radioactive tailing dams on the northern edge of their CBD.

Hosting an industry not reliant on rainfall in our marginal farming area would provide our town with diversification and drought proofing and provide alternative job opportunities for our locals and to attract new people to our community.

As a member of the Kimba Consultative Committee and having had the chance to visit ANSTO and with all the information gained during this time, I feel totally confident with my belief that there is absolutely no risk involved in our district hosting this facility.