On 5 June, the Morrison government’s Productivity Commission released its National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development Review Interim Report.
Against all available evidence, the report argues that increased marketisation in the skills and training sector is needed, claiming that it did not fail but rather wasn’t given enough time to succeed.
The facts tell a far different story. Millions of dollars of public money have been rorted by unscrupulous private for-profit providers due to marketisation in the VET sector, resulting in inflated course fees, crippling debts for students and worthless qualifications.
The Morrison government has clearly not learned from its mistakes, even going as far as to suggest a new student loan scheme or voucher system that could again enable private companies to rort public money in the sector.
The AEU’s federal branch made a submission to the review, forcefully advocating for urgent investment in the sector. We proposed that the review should strongly recommend a co-ordinated effort to put TAFE at the forefront of economic recovery post-COVID. We called for potential future economic stimulus efforts through immediate increased federal funding, support and investment in infrastructure, equipment, staffing and programs, including:
- restoration of the more than $3 billion cut from TAFE and training since 2013
- implementation of targeted support for the public VET provider, guaranteeing a minimum 70% of all government VET funding to TAFE
- significant capital investment in TAFE infrastructure, both in terms of improvements to existing campuses and the redeployment of closed campuses in regions without sufficient provision
- a significant reinvestment in the TAFE teaching workforce, to replace the many tens of thousands who have been driven out of the sector over the past ten years and to alleviate current workloads.
Read our submission at www.aeuvic.asn.au/productivity-commission-prioritises-profit-above-tafes-future