I was very pleased to be able to ask the first question to the Prime Minister in Question Time on National TAFE Day.
You can watch my question and the Prime Minister's answer here.
Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (14:00): My question is to the Prime Minister. Today, Prime Minister, is National TAFE Day, when we mark the opportunities and training that these important institutions provide for so many young Australians starting out in the workforce. Why, then, is the Prime Minister determined to destroy opportunities for Australia's 400,000 apprentices by cutting almost $1 billion from the Tools for Your Trade program?
Government members interjecting—
The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my right. The Prime Minister has the call.
Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Prime Minister) (14:00): Like the member who was asked the question, I value and appreciate the great work that our tradies do. I appreciate the need for proper training systems. The problem is that—
Mr Perrett interjecting—
The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton is not beginning well.
Mr ABBOTT: for all their talk, members opposite were much better at spending money than they were at getting a result. Under the policies of members opposite, some 50 per cent of apprentices never completed their training. So what we want is a better training system.
Ms Macklin interjecting—
The SPEAKER: There will be silence from the member for Jagajaga.
Mr ABBOTT: Members opposite actually cut $2.4 billion for skills training in the 2012 MYEFO. Members opposite promised 2,650 trade training centres. They delivered fewer than 350 of those.
Ms Owens interjecting—
The SPEAKER: The member for Parramatta will desist.
Mr ABBOTT: I want to assure the House that, under this government, money will be invested sensibly and good results will be achieved. We will spend some $5 billion on training over the forward estimates period. Very importantly, we will be giving trainees access to trade support loans because they deserve support on the same basis that university students have. We want a fair system, a good system, a flexible system and a productive system. That is what people will get under this government.