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Trans-Tasman qualifications recognition vital

25 September 2000 Media Statement

Trans-Tasman qualifications recognition vital - Maharey

The Government is encouraging Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) to benchmark their qualifications with their equivalent Australian standards body, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey met with the Construction Training Australia Board and industry training representatives from New Zealand. A mutual recognition of vocational education and qualifications declaration came into effect on 1 January 2000. The declaration declares the confidence of each country in the national qualifications frameworks which operate in the other signatory. New Zealand's closet social and economic relationship is with Australia and Mr Maharey said it was important that ITOs ensured the portability of their qualifications across the Tasman.

"New Zealanders and Australians move frequently between each country and it is essential that we harmonise and benchmark the respective trade qualifications offered on both sides of the Tasman.

"ITOs and Australian National Industry Training Advisory Bodies (ITABs) have an important role to play in developing the common labour market between our two countries.

"Acceptance of vocational education and training mutual recognition agreement, signed in 1997 and which came into force on 1 January 2000, seems high although its practical application remains a challenge.

"Recently the International Labour Organisation resolved that member countries should move towards developing national qualifications frameworks as a key step in matching the skills needs of industry with properly trained workers. With effective implementation of the mutual recognition agreement New Zealand and Australia will be in a position to share our best practice with the rest of the world," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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