Fed Govt ends education investment fund


17 October 2019

The Morrison Government has passed legislation to fund a national disaster relief package by stripping billions of dollars from another federal fund originally intended for investment into education infrastructure.

The government will transfer $3.9 billion from the Education Investment Fund (EIF) into its Emergency Response Fund. The Bill was passed with Labor’s support, with the Greens and Senator Jacqui Lambie voting against the measure.

The EIF was established by Labor in January 2009 to provide dedicated ongoing capital funding for tertiary education and research infrastructure, including TAFE. The Coalition has stopped payments from the fund since 2014. In return for Labor’s support, the Morrison Government will allocate an additional $50 million per year to TAFE infrastructure investment.

The AEU believes that while it is vital to provide generous disaster relief for communities which need it, this should not be at the expense of education.

These EIF funds are desperately needed to improve TAFE infrastructure and provision across Australia. Repurposing this funding is a short-term solution to a long-term problem, and will greatly affect the opportunities for people seeking vocational education training in rural and regional areas.

It is disappointing that Labor voted to support this legislation and did not move to protect the EIF, or call on the Morrison Government to find an alternative source of funding for drought relief efforts.

Ending the EIF is yet another example of the Morrison Government’s campaign to defund TAFE and hand vocational education to profit-seeking private providers.

The AEU believes that the Morrison Government should be increasing investment into TAFE across the country, not cutting it.