Critical skills shortages are a looming threat to Australia’s society and economy. Yet TAFE funding is being slashed and TAFE is forced to compete with private providers for public funding. TAFE campuses are closing, courses cut, students are in debt to pay rising fees, and teachers are losing their jobs. Vocational training competition policy has failed and put at risk Australia’s future as a skilled nation.
Vocational education and training (VET) is the key vehicle for governments to meet future skills demand, to guarantee pathways for school leavers into further education and to allow adults to increase their skills in the workforce.
For more than 100 years TAFE has been the leading national provider of VET courses. But recent competition policies have both eroded public funding of the TAFE system and failed to deliver the skilled workforce we need in national skills shortage areas.
The Greens are proud defenders of a strong TAFE system as a strategic public asset to meet Australia’s future skills training needs. In 2011 some 1.3 million out of 1.9 millioni VET students studied at more than 1,300 TAFE locations across Australia.ii
Australia needs a long term vision for revitalising our public TAFE system.
To provide the high-level skills and workforce development so vital to our economic future, the Australian Greens will:
Prioritise increased federal budget spending on TAFE.
Protect TAFE’s viability as our leading provider of skills training by ensuring TAFE is the preferred funded provider of courses where it can supply those courses.
The Greens’ proposed TAFE federal rescue package will deliver an extra $400 million per year for TAFE, at an overall cost of $1.2 billion over the forward estimates from 1 July 2014.
The additional funding will be quarantined from diversion to private providers and help ensure TAFE is guaranteed funding to provide the vocational and educational training needed to skill up Australians and sustain our communities and regional economies.
The vital additional funding will help increase the TAFE sector’s future capability to deliver higher qualifications in the key skills shortage areas identified by government.