Answers to Questions on Notice, Senate Inquiry

Finance and Public Administration Committee



Inquiry into the Nation Building and Jobs Plan

February 5 2009



Question: 7


Topic:                         Matching Capacity Constraints with Training Packages


Hansard Page:  36


Senator MILNE asked:


…The second thing is: was any consideration given to match the capacity constraints with training packages? You might have short-term, three-month TAFE courses or something to help upgrade the skills of plumbers to be able to roll out solar hot water or those kinds of issues. In the case of school libraries, we will have libraries built and no trained librarians to go in them. Was there any discussion of the complementarity of the people and the skills base that is needed (a) to deliver the infrastructure and (b) to actually maximise its benefits?



Dr Henry— …The second point is that, as all senators would be aware, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer met with the premiers, the chief ministers and their treasurers this morning to, among other things, discuss this very point. All the premiers and chief ministers and the Prime Minister obviously recognise that, in order for these programs to be implemented in the way that is set out in this document, there will need to be strong coordination between governments. They agreed this morning on a set of quite formal implementation and monitoring arrangements to ensure that, where there are difficulties of implementation, those difficulties are identified very early and responses are developed to address those implementation difficulties.

Senator Cameron interjecting

Dr Henry—Yes, it does.

Senator MILNE—Would that include training?

Dr Henry—That is the second part of your question, which, I am sorry, I cannot answer. I am not sure. I do not think so, but I will take that on notice.




The COAG’s National Partnership Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan sets out the details on the roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.  For example, schedule D sets out the details of the Building the Education Revelation program. 


            D3.   As the cost to the Commonwealth budget is intended to be one-off, any ongoing administration, maintenance or co-investment costs associated with the expenditure are to be borne by the states.


Ensuring that there were trained librarians in libraries would therefore be a responsibility of the states.  

4 responses

11 02 2009
Is the federal government responsible? « The Hub

[…] librarians in libraries would therefore be a responsibility of the states ”? (See latest response to questions on notice in the current Senate inquiry.) Let’s look at some examples of the way the federal government can influence staffing, and […]

12 02 2009
Lesley Abrahams

School Libraries staffed with trained teacher librarians are vital to the Literacy and Numeracy programmes in all Australian schools.
With some school libraries still being staffed by under trained or non-library trained teachers, further training programmes for Teacher-Librarians are essential to make sure that any new Libraries built, are staffed appropriately.
Otherwise they will be used as extra classrooms, and not utilised as Libraries or resource and learning spaces.

30 04 2010
Amanda Credaro

What a shame that the fact that in NSW government schools (and I’m sure most likely elsewhere) that have a qualified, trained teacher librarian employed in the school, that due to the seemingly unlimited power of principals – without any requirement for justification or rationale – teacher librarians are being subverted into areas other than managing school libraries, collaborating with classroom colleagues, developing research tasks, etc.

In a high school of my acquaintance, the teacher librarian has to close the library 5 recesses a fortnight to do playground duty (Girls Toilets). In the same school, 5 (other) times a fortnight, the teacher librarian is timetabled as a ‘teachers’ aide’ for the English faculty. The horror stories continue; the library is to be kept unlocked and unsupervised during the whole school day so that senior students have somewhere “to go” – and apparently giving them an empty classroom is out of the question due to past damage, inappropriate behaviour, and so on.


I wish the parameters of the national enquiry had been widened enough to include what is basically mismanagement at local level, and mis-use of personnel.

Perhaps (Prof) Brian Caldwell’s report regarding principals should have also been tabled as evidence for the national enquiry?

Amanda Credaro
B.Sc., Grad.Dip.Ed., M.App.Sci.(Teacher Librarianship), M.Ed.(IT in Education)

1 05 2010
Lesley Abrahams

We need some or all of the teacher-librarians with the successful programmes which make the Library “the hub” of the school to be able to put in evidence based reports. Of course this is also a huge inpost on those who are already going beyond the call of duty to make this happen.
I continue in my discussions with other teachers about this inquiry to hear anecdotal evidence of terrific libraries, staffed by trained teacher-librarians, and of totally inefficient or scrapped libraries staffed or not staffed by untrained either teachers or librarians.
My library in the 1990’s increased it’s occupancy from 57% to 89% in response to the Principal’s demands. Staff were very happy with the programme and continued to book and use the Library to this extent into 2000’s. But I and my colleague were so busy providing the team-teaching, and information skills base, and managing resources, that writing papers, and presenting evidence based reports was really difficult to do.
Even today, I heard at my volunteer job, of a library closed down, and made an “open classroom” because “everything is on the Internet” and the para-professional was unable to deliver the job required by teachers.
Where is Treasury in all this? Why was I inspected fastidiously as to my management and control of resources for 24 years? Is it less important now to keep track of expensive resources than it was decades ago? Pleae explain (rhetorical!).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: