with SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS, TAFE AND APPRENTICESHIPS SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
A Shorten Labor Government will scrap upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students in a move welcomed by Emma McBride, Labor Member for Dobell, who hosted Labor’s TAFE spokesman, Senator Doug Cameron, at Wyong TAFE today.
“This is good news for Dobell and the whole Central Coast,” Ms McBride said.
“It opens up TAFE and will make it easier for local people to gain valuable skills and education.”
By waiving the upfront TAFE fees for 100,000 students, Labor’s plan will mean many more students can attend TAFE.
Labor will also invest $100 million in a Building TAFE for the Future Fund, to revitalise TAFE campuses and facilities in regional and outer metropolitan areas such as the Central Coast.
The policy is part of a comprehensive plan to support TAFEs, vocational education and apprenticeships across the country. In addition to our commitment to waive upfront fees for 100,000 students, Labor will:
Guarantee two-thirds of government vocational education and training funding goes to TAFE to ensure quality learning and improved job opportunities for Australians.
Ensure one in every 10 jobs on Commonwealth priority projects are filled by Australians apprentices.
Provide 10,000 pre-apprentice programs for young people who want to learn a trade.
Provide 20,000 adult apprentice programs for older workers who need to retrain.
The Liberals have cut $3 billion from skills, TAFE and apprenticeships funding since they came to office, with a further $270 million cut in the last budget.
“The Liberals have undermined and neglected TAFE and the apprenticeship system,” Ms McBride said.
Apprentice numbers have declined in Dobell by 951 since 2013. Across the country, there are 140,000 fewer apprentices and trainees, a decline of 35 per cent.
“In our community, with youth unemployment at a stubbornly high 18.6 per cent, TAFE has always been a trusted pathway to a secure job,” Ms McBride said.
“Now, I hear that young people have to travel out of the area to attend TAFE courses – to Sydney or the Hunter Valley.”
Senator Cameron said the Central Coast had seen a collapse in apprentice numbers since the Liberals came to government.
“The Liberals’ budget cuts have left our skills and training sector in chronic decline,” Senator Cameron said.
“TAFE courses have been cut, campuses have closed and TAFE teachers have lost their jobs.
“This has reduced employment opportunities for middle and working class people, including women, young people and workers retraining later in life.
“It has also limited our capacity to meet demand in growing occupations in the disability, aged care, and technology focused sectors.
“While Malcolm Turnbull cuts from skills and TAFE to pay for an $80 billion tax handout to big business, Labor has a plan to invest in TAFE and apprenticeships, and ensure Australians have the skills they need to succeed in our changing economy,” Senator Cameron said.