I have got a honda VTR 250 which I bought brand new for 8K. In victoria you have to have your learners for at least 3 months before going for your licence. You are restricted to 250cc whilst on your learners and for the first 12 months of your full licence. (then go get an R1!!)
I got my learners at HART which is run by Honda Australia http://www.hartridertraining.com.au/
they are pretty good and take care of everything for you.
As for the type of bike, I was looking at a CBR but most of the people I spoke to told me that nearly everyone drops their first bike. (I havn't yet - touch wood!) A fully faired (body kit) bike will cost more to insure and repair than a non faired bike. They are also fairly highly strung, they rev to around 20k I think so I am not too sure about the reliability. If you are doing a lot of Km's then get a bike that will be comfortable to ride, sports bikes like the CBR tend to get uncomfortable on long trips.
As for performance, the VTR has about 24kw to play with and about 140kg dry weight. I have not had it at the track (yet) acceleration is not blindingly fast but good enough (probably not 14sec quick). Top speed is 140 sitting upright and 150 crouched over the tank. I suspect a fully faired bike would be a lot more aerodynamic.