$1 BILLION UNDERSPEND ON VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (13:39):  We are shortly to go into question time in this place. Yesterday, I was really angry that the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme got up and told this place that there was no backlog with the NDIS. In my electorate we are—as are, I am sure, many of my colleagues—dealing day after day with people distraught that the NDIS is not delivering on its promise to them, on the back of a $4.6 billion underspend by this government for people with a disability.

I'm just as angry today, as we've discovered that, since 2014, this government has underspent on vocational education and training by nearly a billion dollars. There has been an over $200 million underspend in the current financial year. In my area, young people, people who've been retrenched and people who want to retrain are desperate to get a vocational education and training spot. My TAFEs need funding. My apprenticeships need funding.

This government relies on spin instead of investment. Every time I see the Prime Minister speculate that he's going to make a big announcement, I don't get my hopes up because it's all rhetoric and no investment. The last announcement was of an ambassador, Scott Cam. No doubt, he's a great guy, but how can you be an ambassador for something that the government is ripping the guts out of and not funding?

Our regions deserve better. Our young people, and our retrenched and older workers deserve better. Do what you're supposed to do.

Watch Sharon’s speech here.