POLITICALLY APPOINTED FORMER POLITICIAN ESCHEWS VET POLITICS

19 Jan 2019

If the Government genuinely wanted to take the politics out of the vocational education debate as claimed in today’s Financial Review then it shouldn’t have appointed a former conservative politician to review the failing system.

If the Government genuinely wanted to take the politics out of the vocational education debate as claimed in today’s Financial Review then it shouldn’t have appointed a former conservative politician to review the failing system.
 
The Government appointed one-time conservative New Zealand minister Steven Joyce in November last year.
 
Mr Joyce infamously left a $3 billion black hole in that country’s VET system, decimating regional training centres while funnelling money into private for-profit providers.
 
Claims in today’s article Mr Joyce has had “conversations” with both sides of politics are fanciful as he has certainly not reached out to me.
 
Just as farcical as his appointment is the Government’s January 25 submission deadline for the first review into the VET system in more than 40 years.
 
Labor won’t be bound by this compromised review.
 
In February last year, Labor announced we would conduct a thorough national inquiry into the entire post-secondary education system if elected.
 
Under the Coalition, the VET system has been damaged has been damaged by funding cuts, privatisation, excessive competition policy and poor regulation.
 
This includes:

  • $3 billion in cuts to vocational education
  • 140,000 fewer apprentices
  • TAFE enrolments plummeting by 24.5 per cent
  • thousands of students accruing bad debts
  • failed $24 million Australian Apprenticeship Management System
  • dodgy training providers flourishing

The Liberals mismanagement of the VET system has seen Australia fall to the bottom of OECD international leader charts when it comes to our capacity to engage in global value chains.
 
Given Mr Joyce’s track record, it’s clear his review will result in more attacks on TAFE and more largesse for the Government’s private sector mates.
 
Mr Joyce is not familiar with the complexities of the Australian system and the timeframe for his inquiry is too narrow and too short.
 
If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will waive upfront fees for 100,000 students to attend TAFE, including 10,000 for early education students.

Federal Labor will also provide $100 million to the Building TAFE for the Future Fund to commence a program of revitalising campuses across Australia.

Labor is committed to ensuring at least two thirds of all government funding for vocational education will go to TAFE. The balance will go to not-for-profit community providers and only the best private providers with demonstrable links to specific industry requirements.