COALITION STILL CAN’T GET VET RIGHT

2 Oct 2018

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government still can’t deliver its deeply flawed flagship vocational education and training policy.

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS, TAFE AND APPRENTICESHIPS
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
 
COALITION STILL CAN’T GET VET RIGHT
 

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government still can’t deliver its deeply flawed flagship vocational education and training policy.

Queensland and Victoria, where 45 per cent of the Australian apprentices are located, are yet to sign up to the Government’s Skilling Australians Fund.

The failure of the fund to deliver funding certainty has been criticised by experts and stakeholders since it was announced 16 months ago.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry told a Senate Inquiry in February that the failure to guarantee the fund showed the Government’s lack of commitment to the training system.

Education funding expert Professor Peter Noonan, professorial fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy, echoed ACCI’s concerns that the fund design poses a barrier to settling agreements with the state and territory governments:

Revenue for the fund will be highest when skilled migration is highest, and lowest when employment of locally skilled workers is highest. That means the revenue stream for the fund will be counter-cyclical to the purpose for which is was established:  increase the proportion of locally trained workers and to lessen reliance on temporary skilled migration visas. Unless the Commonwealth guarantees funding levels and continues to make up any shortfall in the revenue, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the Commonwealth to enter meaningful, bilateral agreements with the states through the fund.

Those concerns were justified given the Government cut the fund by $270 million over the forwards at the last Budget.

Shadow Skills, TAFE and Apprenticeships Minister, Doug Cameron, said Australian vocational education and training system requires stable, competent and visionary leadership.

“Instead the Coalition has made nine different ministerial appointments with responsibility for VET over their five years in office,” Senator Cameron said.

“There are now 140,000 fewer apprentices and trainees in training than when they took office.

“Labor understands that VET, TAFE and apprenticeships are issues of national importance. That is why Labor will guarantee funding for VET, ensuring that at least two thirds will go to TAFE.

The Productivity Commission has reported that ‘the VET system is a mess’, the Business Council of Australia have called for ‘systematic and transformational change’, and the OECD is reporting that Australia doesn’t have the skills base to capitalise on opportunities in global value chains.
 
In the first 100 days of government Labor will establish a comprehensive review of our post-secondary education system.

A Shorten Labor Government will also:

  • guarantee that one in 10 jobs on Commonwealth projects go to an Australian apprentice
  • scrap upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students and spend $100 million on revitalising TAFE campuses across Australia
  • invest in new pre-apprenticeships for 10,000 young job seekers with skills and training, and 20,000 adult apprenticeships for people with insecure employment.

TUESDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2018
 

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.