Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:22): My question is to the Minister for Training and Skills. This year, Minister, 70 per cent of students trained by Gippsland TAFE Forestec are first responders, such as Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) fire crews, SES and Victoria Police. Forestec’s rowboat training coupe is currently injuncted, and training in things such as hazardous tree felling, removal of hazardous trees and machine assist has ceased. Minister, what is the government doing to facilitate first responders to complete their training in these vital skills?

Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:23): I do thank Ms Bath for her question. It is a relevant question, and I have sought advice from the department in relation to TAFE Gippsland and what measures they have got in place.  I am optimistic that they do have a series of measures in place, because the management of TAFE Gippsland is exceptional, it is very connected to community and I know it is very, very supportive of Forestec and understands the important work that Forestec does.

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:23): I thank the minister for her response. Will the minister commit to working with DELWP, noting it has jurisdiction over state forest land, to ensure that the first responders have adequate training to protect their own personal safety as they go about protecting the lives and safety of others during the fire season and storms? It is very important that they get that adequate training, so will the minister commit to working with DELWP to find the solution?

Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:24): In terms of Forestec in particular, there has always been a very good relationship between DELWP, the Department of Education and Training and TAFE Gippsland. I am sure that that will continue, and if there are areas that can be extended or improved as a result of this current situation, we will look into it and ensure that whatever is required delivers what is needed.