Crisis In The VET Sector Continues As Deadline Looms With No Action

The crisis in the skills portfolio continues as the date for the commencement of Skills Service Organisations (SSO) looms with no decisions from the Liberals on successful tenders.


In their desperation to remove any trace of good Labor programs and narrow down their access to advice by abolishing Industry Skills Councils, the Liberal Government is again in panic mode as 1 January approaches and no successful tenders have been announced.


The Liberals abolished Industry Skills Councils earlier this year and advised of plans to replace them with Skills Service Organisations.  They announced that the new SSOs would be in place by 1 January 2016 but now, two days before Christmas, there has been no announcement of successful tenders.


The sector is in danger of another botched and panicked approach to an important component of the VET sector following the Liberal Government’s panicked changes to shonky providers.


Labor anticipates that this process is yet another plan to narrow the advice that the Government receives and stifle the voice of students, workers and unions.  The Liberals have form by abolishing students, workers and unions from the Australian Industry and Skills Committee and the VET Advisory Board.


For 30 years there has been collaboration of the development of training packages and the expertise and experience that has been developed was a significant national asset.


The current system of Industry Skills Councils brought the voices of industry, unions and professional organisations to the table to ensure that all stakeholders views and concerns were considered.


Labor has serious concerns that the Liberals will award contracts based on the cheapest price – at a time when the quality of our training packages should be paramount to ensure good long term prospects for students and workers.


The Liberals must guarantee that Australia does not lose the decades of experience of the many board members from the former Industry Skills Councils and ensure that the Government receives a good depth of advice from a wide range of stakeholders – not just their mates in industry and the private sector.