Senator WRIGHT: I am interested to know a bit more about what process of review may have occurred or did occur before the decision was made to cut funding to trade training centres. Are you aware of any review process? You have said it was done in the context of MYEFO. We know it was actually an election promise. Are you aware of any review that was done by the decision makers?
Ms Paul : My evidence was comprehensive that it was a clear election commitment and then that was followed up through the normal budget process which led into MYEFO.
Senator WRIGHT: You explained the process. I do not know that it was comprehensive in a sense. I think it is a fair question to ask whether you were aware of any review that occurred before that process.
Ms Paul : Of course, it is fair to ask.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you for that. Has any analysis been performed post that decision to examine the impact of reducing skills training across the country or the potential impact on school retention rates that you are aware of?
Mr Hehir : The decision to cease funding of trade training centres does not correlate to a decision to reduce funding in terms of skills. Skills funding within schools is largely a matter for the states and territories and the education authorities. There is no indication that there is a reduction in funding for skills in schools.
Senator WRIGHT: What about the skills that would be obtained in the trade training centres?
Mr Hehir : The trade training centres are not the only option for where students can obtain skills.
Senator WRIGHT: But not continuing to fund trade training centres would potentially reduce some area of skills.
Mr Hehir : There was no review undertaken of that.
Senator WRIGHT: That is the question I was asking. What about the potential impact on school retention rates flowing from this decision? Has any modelling or any analysis been done of that?
Mr Hehir : No.
Senator WRIGHT: What impact do you anticipate that reducing funding for trade training centres will have for schools in rural areas?
Mr Hehir : There has been no review undertaken of that.
Senator McKENZIE: Could I just have the numbers of trade training centres in rural areas?
CHAIR: The question is on rural areas from Senator McKenzie.
Senator WRIGHT: Given that the most economically disadvantaged areas were given priority in the most recent funding rounds of the program, will reducing funding affect these areas disproportionately, in your view?
Mr Hehir : This round is proceeding.
Senator Ryan: Every announced project is proceeding.
Senator WRIGHT: Are there any schools that had been promised trade training centres which will now not eventuate?
Mr Hehir : The only process for achieving a trade training centre was to put in a submission and the only promises made were when people were awarded.
Ms Paul : No, is the answer.
Senator Ryan: For the sake of completeness, one school has withdrawn. It was announced that they withdrew. That was of its own choice. No commitments were made. No announcements were made. I cannot speak to promises other people may have made.
Senator WRIGHT: You are not aware of any others?
Senator Ryan: Not at all.
Senator WRIGHT: Believe it or not, I actually do like to use these sessions to obtain information. Thank you for that.
Ms Paul : Each round is fully completed.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you.