Shorten's Pledge to Guarantee TAFE Funding

12 May 2017

Labor has delivered a welcome commitment to the future of TAFE – by promising to guarantee two-thirds of government VET funding to TAFEs if elected.

This move would address the long-term underfunding of TAFEs and help the sector recover from the impact of disastrous privatisation policies.

Pat Forward, the AEU’s TAFE Secretary said Australia’s TAFEs had been ripped apart by successive budgets and last night’s commitment acknowledged the important role TAFEs play in our future.

“Privatisation of VET has been an attack on our TAFE system, which has ripped millions of dollars out of TAFEs, and funnelled them to private operators, many of which were ripping off students with low-quality courses,” Ms Forward said.

“Last night’s Budget Reply acknowledged that public TAFEs are the key to skilling up Australians now and into the future.

“Labor has committed to ensuring at least two thirds of the public money allocated to vocational education and training is guaranteed for funding public TAFEs.

“This would mean some certainty for TAFEs and stop them having to compete with shonky private operators.

In contrast, Malcom Turnbull is offering nothing except a $177 million cut to TAFE funding which will add to the 15 per cent decline in funding over the last ten years.

Ms Forward said the Coalition’s plan for a new apprentice training fund was ‘smoke and mirrors’ because it relied on visa levies to fund 300,000 apprentice places.

“The funding for Turnbull’s scheme can be used for ‘employer incentives’ – so there is no guarantee that the funding will go towards public TAFE programs that deliver outcomes to make Australians job-ready. They could very well end up lining the pockets of employers,” Ms Forward said.

“Our public TAFEs are proven to deliver the programs that we need to meet our skills needs. Australians trust our TAFE system – and only TAFEs can successfully deliver the quality education and training programs that will make our students job-ready.

“The Turnbull Government to guarantee funding for TAFEs and abandon its agenda of cuts to our public TAFE system,” said Ms Forward.