VET review in Victoria seeks to end free TAFE courses | The Australian The Australian Victoria should consider reintroducing minimum student fees for subsidised training to crack down on unscrupulous providers rorting the system by offering free...
Victoria’s TAFEs require significant and long-term reinvestment following $1.2 billion cuts introduced by the previous state government
The Victorian Auditor-General Office’s 2014 Audit Snapshot of TAFEs shows two successive years of deficits, including $84.3 million for 2014 alone.
“Once again the Auditor-General has found our TAFEs are in a dire state. This is no surprise given the previous Government cut $300 million per year from our TAFEs,” said Australian Education Union Victorian Branch Deputy President, Justin Mullaly.
“TAFEs have been savagely de-funded, yet the private training provider model is failing. It is failing students and failing taxpayers.
“A profit-driven training system where government funding is released to a contestable market allows unscrupulous providers to rip-off the taxpayer.
“Quality, consistent training cannot be achieved when a training sector is driven by profit. Unless TAFEs are properly funded Victoria faces skills shortages it will not be able to remedy.
“The contestable funding model does not work. It opens the door to private provider rorts, at the expense of the taxpayer and students.
“Victorians know only TAFEs can deliver an educated and skilled workforce for industries that need workers. With skills-demand and our economy changing, it’s now more crucial than ever that TAFEs are given the tools to deliver skills for our community.
“The eleven TAFEs examined in the report saw a 19.4 percent overall reduction in revenue between 2013 and 2014.
“Student fees now constitute 45 percent of TAFE revenue, up from 29 percent in 2012. We know fees hikes have affected enrolments. Students cannot afford to bear the brunt of the previous Government’s cuts.
“The Auditor-General notes that the ‘decline in government grant funding has meant TAFEs have increased student fees and fee-for-service activities to meet their expenditure obligations’.
“The Victorian Education & Training Funding Review currently underway must result in a significant reinvestment in our publicly-funded TAFE system as the foundation of quality training in the state.
“Unless the government guarantees that 70 percent of the $1.2 billion of public funding will be specifically allocated to TAFEs, we will not be able to meet Victoria’s future skills needs.
“The Queensland and South Australian governments have moved to cap the amount of government resources that go to private providers. The ACTU has just today endorsed the AEU’s position that 70 percent of funding should go to public TAFEs,” said Mr Mullaly.
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