The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, slammed Labor's IT spokeswoman, Senator Kate Lundy, this week after she allegedly endorsed "ageist comments" made by a major IT educator regarding the Coalition's budgetary allocation of funds to computer training for mature-age Australians.
In a recent media interview, Steve Ross, general manager of Dimension Data Learning Services, said the Federal Government's $23.2 million mature-age computer training initiative was "a joke" and claimed the money could have been better spent on TAFEs or community training groups, which were already providing low-cost computer courses.
Ross said that while the apprenticeship scheme was worthwhile, the mature-age training program was a waste of money.
"These are people who don't like computers -- this won't make any difference [because] they are cyber-phobic," he said. "They have been left behind on purpose because they don't like computers."
Ross said adults learned computer skills because they had the motivation to do so, not because government schemes prompted them to.
In an attempt to defend its budget, the Coalition has accused Senator Lundy of endorsing these "ageist remarks" after she referred to the comments as the number one industry reaction to the government's allocation of IT education funds.