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Minister for education, Julia Gillard, has announced that the Federal Government will commit $81.9 million over 3 years to fund the Vocational Education Broadband Network proposed at the 2020 Summit.

Her rather low key announcement contained few details and there was no more information in the Government's response to the 2020 Summit,   released on 22 April.

According to the response "The Government will create a single post-secondary high speed broadband network, connecting the Australian training system to a similar network to that currently serving universities. This will increase flexibility in the place and pace of learning, and offer speedy access to resources no matter where they are located."

This minimal information is all the more puzzling since Gillard claimed that "The results of the initiative will be most significant over the long term, as it will transform the way training is delivered. It will enable structural change and enhance the capacity and flexibility of the training sector."

The announcement was, however seized on by the Tasmanian Government with premier David Bartlett claiming much of the credit for the scheme. "Skills Tasmania had a large part to play in getting the network to this point," Bartlett said. "We managed the national VET broadband project which involved establishing the conceptual framework, piloting technical options and garnering high-level support for the initiative. Skills Tasmania's involvement continues through its management of the high bandwidth network proof of concept project currently underway between the Commonwealth and various states and territories."

He added: "The new network will allow more courses to be delivered to learners and enable quicker access to resources and training no matter where people live. Importantly, it will help support basic skills training in such areas as language, literacy and numeracy by providing low-cost infrastructure delivery.

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Stuart Corner

 

Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.

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