Community Colleges Australia has welcomed the Hon. Brendan O’Connor MP (pictured) to his new position as Minister for Skills and Training in the new Labor Government, announced by the Prime Minister. Brendan O’Connor is the Member for Gorton in Melbourne’s outer western suburbs, and has served in the House of Representatives since 2001.
The new Minister will be charged with implementing Labor’s training and skills policies, including 465,000 fee free TAFE places, establishing Jobs and Skills Australia “as a national partnership to drive VET education and strengthen workforce planning” (incorporating the existing National Skills Commission), “re-building and sustaining a workforce of professional vocational teachers and support staff”, support for life-long learning, and ensuring that “at least 70% of all public funding for vocational education goes to TAFE [with] the balance of funding [to] go to other high quality, trusted vocational education providers which have the support of employers and unions, including in the adult and community education sector” (ALP National Platform, p. 33, point 80).
About Brendan O’Connor
Mr O’Connor brings a great deal of ministerial experience to his new role, having served under Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard as Minister for Employment Participation, Minister for Home Affairs, Privacy and Freedom of Information, Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting for School Education, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and – from June to September 2013 – the Minister for Employment, Skills and Training. Since 2013, he has held Shadow Ministerial roles for Employment and Workplace Relations; Industry, Science and Small and Family Business; and Defence.
Prior to entering Parliament, Mr O’Connor was a union official from 1986 to 2001, which included the position of Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union from 1993 to 2001.
Other ministers announced by the Prime Minister relevant to the work of Australia’s adult and community education sector include:
- The Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
- The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care
- The Hon Catherine King MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
- The Hon Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians
- The Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education
- Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science
- Andrew Giles MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs
- Anne Aly MP, Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth
- Anika Wells MP, Minister for Aged Care
- Kristy McBain MP, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories
- The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury (read the Community Council for Australia media release about Dr Leigh’s appointment)
- Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care
- Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians
- Senator Anthony Chisholm, Assistant Minister for Education and Assistant Minister for Regional Development