After more than nine years with a federal Coalition government that treated public education with complete disregard, the AEU is looking forward to working with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the new Labor government to address the needs of public education across schools, TAFE and early childhood.
The results are undergoing much post-election analysis. What is abundantly clear is that the Australian community is sick of the divisive and combative nature of politics, and want clear action on climate change, equality and political integrity.
When it comes to TAFE and disability sector funding, we look forward to a more cooperative approach between the state and federal governments.
The initial signs are good. New Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, addressed the National TAFE AGM recently and made a commitment to prioritise the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development, which had stalled under the previous government, despite a Productivity Commission review released back in January 2021.
He did, however, foreshadow that this will take some time, as the new agreements need to consider the Albanese Government election commitments to a National fee Free TAFE program of 465,000 places, a $50 million TAFE Technology Fund to improve IT facilities, workshops, laboratories and tele-health simulators, support for 10,000 apprentices to train in new energy jobs, along with ensuring at least 70% of Commonwealth vocational education funding is for public TAFE.
The election of a new government provides opportunities we’ve been denied for too long, but there is work to do beyond the election.
It is hoped that the disability sector will also see improvements to the way funding is determined, with the appointment of Bill Shorten as the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. He has been tasked with returning the scheme to its original vision, working closely with people with disability, stakeholders and state governments to ensure people with disability are given the choice and control they were promised when the scheme was designed.
AEU members know the difference that additional funding can make and were active in the federal election campaign, making a strong case for TAFE and disability funding. The election of a new government provides opportunities we’ve been denied for too long, but there is more work to do beyond the election itself.
Thank you to the many members who joined the AEU campaign, having conversations with colleagues, friends and family, letterboxing in marginal seats, attending community events, and handing out ‘how to vote’ cards on election day. It all made a difference, and the community seems to have let out a great sigh of relief. We now need to continue our fight to ensure the resources promised are delivered for public education.