Ten days into the election campaign and the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Senator Scott Ryan, continues to hide from the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s record of $2.75 billion cuts to skills programs.
So far, the Minister has not visited one TAFE campus.
Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird said that she was not surprised the Minister has been put into protective custody this campaign.
When it comes to the skills portfolio, the Abbott-Turnbull Government has only ever taken money out. The latest of four Ministers has continued this appalling record. We have seen Australia lose over 120,000 apprentices under this Government's watch yet they show no concern about this.
Senator Ryan has been nothing but a disappointment since he was appointed. After creating an expectation he would fix the VET-FEE HELP mess, he tried to dodge the issue with a discussion paper.
Senator Ryan’s complete failure to express any support for TAFE is consistent with the record of the three skills Ministers that preceded him – apparently none of those visited a TAFE either and avoided talking about public provision at all.
Labor candidates throughout the country are hearing from their communities about serious concerns regarding the unethical behaviour of some private vocational education providers, the future of their local TAFE and apprenticeship opportunities.
Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird has been a regular visitor at TAFE campuses and continues to average almost a visit a day during this campaign.
In a stark contrast to the Liberals’ silence, Labor has committed to developing a National Priority Plan to place TAFE squarely as the public provider within the VET sector and ensure TAFE’s viability and strength into the future.
Labor has also announced a full, evidence-based review of the vocational education and training system to build a stronger VET sector by weeding out dodgy providers and student rip-offs.
Malcolm Turnbull’s so-called plan for a ‘strong new economy’ makes no mention of TAFE.
It beggars belief that you can have a Minister for Vocational Education and Skills who never sets foot on TAFE campuses and a Prime Minister who doesn’t list skills and TAFE as a priority.
The Liberals have no interest in training Australia’s future workforce and they have no interest in TAFE.
THURSDAY, 19 MAY 2016