Federal Labor Welcomes Victorian VET Funding Review


Sharon Bird, Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, today welcomed the announcement of a comprehensive independent review of funding of Victoria’s VET system by Hon Steve Herbert MP, Victorian Minister for Training and Skills.


“Federal Labor has been focussed on quality in the VET sector as it is the critical factor to ensuring nationally recognised training is delivered that is of value to students and employers,” Sharon Bird said. 


“The previous Victorian Liberal Government left the sector in a mess and this review is a very positive step by Minister Herbert.


“There have now been a multitude of reports on sector issues such as unscrupulous recruiting practices targeting the disadvantaged in our community, the misuse of VET FEE-HELP and poor quality training.” 


Federal Labor has called for the Auditor General to investigate VET FEE-HELP to ensure that skills funding is being used in accordance with the intent of the legislation and the Auditor General has requested that the performance audit be included in the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) 2015-16 work program.


Federal Labor has also been critical of the Abbott Government’s abandonment of quality, independent advice on the VET sector.  On coming to Government, they immediately abolished the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency and are now proposing to contract out the writing of training packages previously managed by Industry Skills Councils that are run by boards composed of people with decades of expertise from industry, unions and professional organisations.


Two significant parliamentary reports on TAFE have been tabled in both houses and the Senate is currently undertaking a further study on the VET sector.  The Government has not even bothered to respond to this important body of work, despite the fact that the House of Representatives Report on TAFE was a bipartisan report.


“State Labor in Victoria has demonstrated the foresight to re-engage with research and evidence-based decision making.  In stark contrast the Federal Liberal Government continues to pursue an ideological agenda that damages the quality and reputation of the sector,” Ms Bird said.


“The new Minister should clarify if he intends to continue with the extremely narrow Ministerial Advisory Committee established by the previous Minister and if he is ever going to respond to the work of committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.”