TAFE Is An Australian Asset & The Government Must Act Now To Protect It

Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Sharon Bird, today welcomed the tabling of the bi-TAFE_an_Australian_Asset1.jpgpartisan report on TAFE by the House of Representatives Education and Employment Committee and has called on the Minister to move with urgency to adopt and implement all the recommendations of the report.

“This report strongly endorses TAFE as an invaluable national asset that must be both protected and enhanced by Governments,” Ms Bird said.

“The report goes in to great detail to outline the significant and unique role that TAFE as a public provider plays in the national task of skilling and upskilling our nation.  It, very importantly, reminds all governments of the critical role that TAFE plays in second chance education, covering thin markets to ensure access and affordability of vocational education and its integral role in pathways to further education as well as employment. 

The Committee’s report makes seven recommendations that start with a COAG process to establish a nationally agreed value statement that should comprehensively define the role of TAFE within the VET sector together.  It also, importantly, requires this statement to make clear TAFE’s future direction in the competitive training market, from a national perspective and outlines nine specific areas in which TAFE is the critical and unique provider and why it must be protected in the vocational market.  Further recommendations address the extensive evidence received by the Committee on unscrupulous behaviours by some providers in this market and concerns regarding poor quality delivery.

“While the committee’s terms of reference referred only to the TAFE system, many contributors made a strong point that these unscrupulous practices that were occurring in the private market impacted significantly on TAFE, as well as the individual students and employers.  I am, therefore, pleased that the Committee has included recommendations on these issues to the Government,” Ms Bird said

“As a member of the committee I would also like to thank all the individuals and organisations that made submissions and gave evidence in person to the inquiry.  Their direct, first-hand evidence has contributed to the ability of the committee to produce a bi-partisan report and make a powerful public record on the significance of TAFE as a national asset.”

Ms Bird called on the Minister to act with urgency on the report given the attacks that have been made by State Liberal Governments in recent years that have effectively endangered the long-term existence of TAFE.

“This report is titled ‘TAFE – An Australian Asset’ and there would be nothing more tragic than to only appreciate what we had in our public TAFE system when we had lost it.  The Minister must act to ensure this is not the case.”