Liberals’ $1 Billion In Cuts To Apprentices = 1,119 Fewer Apprentices In Riverina

Sharon Bird, Tim Kurylowicz, and Vivien Thompson, today visited Wagga Wagga TAFE and Cootamundra TAFE to talk to local residents who are concerned about the future of TAFE in the Riverina. 

Tim Kurylowicz also called on Malcolm Turnbull to come clean about his plans for a Federal takeover of the vocational education system.  

The Liberals have an appalling track record in the vocational education sector so far – they cannot be trusted with our TAFEs. 

In New South Wales, the O’Farrell and Baird Liberal Governments, over the past three years, have sacked over 3,600 teachers and 1,000 support staff, course costs have escalated and the Liberals have further plans to close or cut regional campuses. 

A leaked Baird Government ‘cabinet-in-confidence’ document obtained by Fairfax media in September last year, outlines the NSW Liberals plans to sell off part of Albury TAFE (Dean Street annexe) and also completely shut down the Narrandera and Corowa TAFE campuses. 

The Liberal’s $1 billion in cuts to apprentice program such as Tools for Your Trade and access and mentoring programs have also hit local apprentices hard. 

These cuts have also had a devastating impact on apprentices in training in Riverina with numbers falling from 4,501 in June 2014 to 3,382 in March 2015 – a drop of 1,119 local apprentices. 

Across Australia, in September 2013 there were 417,700 apprentices in training.  Now, because of the Liberal Government’s savage cuts there are now only 295,300 apprentices (September 2015).  

That is 122,400 fewer apprentices in training across the country.  

Federal Labor has also announced a full, evidence based review of the vocational education and training system and a National Priority Plan for TAFE including a TAFE guarantee which places it squarely as the public provider within the VET sector and ensures TAFE’s viability and strength into the future. 

Sharon Bird said that that Labor’s policies will ensure that our kids, people returning to work and workers in areas in transition will get the opportunities and the skills they need for the jobs of the future. 

“The Turnbull Government cannot be trusted with education and training people which is critical to giving them the best opportunity to get a job.  The cuts that conservative governments across Australia have made to TAFE, skills and apprentices are having a devastating effect on local communities. 

“Before the election, Tony Abbott promised that the Coalition would provide better support for Australia’s apprentices - sadly they have slashed funding and have defaulted to their fall-back position of cutting programs that invest in skills and training. 

The Liberals have cut almost $2.5 billion from skills and training. 

The Liberals have cut $30 billion from our schools. 

On top of all that Malcolm Turnbull also wants to cut university funding by 20 per cent and deregulate fees which could see students paying $100,000 for a university degree. 

Labor is backing TAFE and training because we believe every Australian – young or old, from the city or the bush – has an equal right to share in the jobs and opportunities of the future.