Local Labor representatives, Sharon Bird, Stephen Jones and Fiona Phillips, today backed in Labor Leader Bill Shorten’s Budget Reply announcement to scrap unfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students who choose to learn the skills that Australia needs.

Last night’s announcement adds to Labor’s strong suite of policies to invest in TAFE and apprenticeships and ensure Australians have the skills they need to succeed in our changing economy.

This will help workers gain the skills they need to get a trade, a traineeship and a quality job – and make it easier for businesses to fill skills shortages.

The Liberal’s savage cuts to skills and training has meant that Australia has 140,000 fewer apprentices today than when the Liberals were elected in 2013, TAFE courses have been cut, campuses have closed and TAFE teachers have lost their jobs.

In addition to our commitment to waive fees for 100,000 students, Labor’s $470 million plan to boost TAFE, apprenticeships and skills for Australians includes:

  • Investing $100 million in modernising TAFE facilities around the country.
  • Guaranteeing at least two out of three Commonwealth training dollars goes to TAFE.
  • Ensuring one in every ten jobs on Commonwealth priority projects are filled by Australians apprentices.
  • Providing 10,000 pre-apprentice programs for young people who want to learn a trade.
  • Providing 20,000 adult apprentice programs for older workers who need to retrain.

While Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals have cut over $3 billion 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.