Media Release: Labor’s plan to support Mid North Coast classrooms

10.50am | May 16, 2016

Regional TAFEs like Port Macquarie have fewer students and less money, figures show.

After sustaining two years of cuts totalling $2.5 billion, including a $1 billion cut to apprentices and apprenticeship support, the Turnbull Government has axed another $247 million from skills and training and failed to introduce any new initiatives to help people get the qualifications they need to access quality jobs and long-term careers.

The Abbott and Turnbull governments’ previous $1 billion cuts to apprentice programs have hit hard. Across Australia in September 2013 there were 417,700 apprentices in training. Two years later, in September 2015, that had fallen to 295,300 apprentices in training.  

Visiting Port Macquarie TAFE today, Labor Candidate for Cowper, Damian Wood, said: “The Liberals have completely ignored the cries from industry, workers and the community by refusing to invest in the skills of our future workforce.”

Peak bodies such as the Australian Industry Group have been clearly telling the government:

“Apprentices provide vital skills to key parts of our economy.  Without urgent and meaningful intervention, the apprenticeship system in Australia will continue to underperform and fail to deliver for business and the community.”
Innes Willox, AiGroup Chief Executive, 14 April 2016

Senator Jenny McAllister said: “The vocational education sector has been severely damaged by the explosion in abuses and waste under the VET FEE-HELP scheme due to mismanagement by the Abbott/Turnbull governments.  It needs urgent action and the best this Government can do in this Budget is throw $10 million at an information program.”

“This Budget, the Liberals have refused to invest in apprentices and trainees – instead they prefer an inferior internship model that doesn’t provide meaningful training. For all their talk about transitioning economies, innovation and jobs of the future they have completely failed to invest in a critical enabling sector – vocational education and training.”