Turnbull Government Cuts See 1,000 Fewer Apprentices In Petrie, Longman And Lilley

Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Sharon Bird, joined by Jacqui Pedersen, Susan Lamb and Wayne Swan, today visited Bracken Ridge TAFE to discuss the drop of apprentices in training in Petrie, Longman and Lilley, as well as the importance of TAFE in training and retraining Australia’s workforce.

The Liberals have cut $2.75 billion from the skills portfolio, including $1 billion in cuts to apprentices through the Tools for Your Trade program and access and mentoring programs.  

These cuts have hit local apprentices in Queensland hard.

They have had a devastating impact on apprentices in training in the local area with numbers falling from 6,330 in June 2014, to 5,330 in March 2015 – a drop of 1,000 local apprentices.

The local breakdown of apprentice numbers is as follows:


June 2014

March 2015



















In September 2013, there were 417,700 apprentices in training across Australia. Following the Turnbull Government’s savage cuts there are now only 295,300 apprentices in training (September 2015). 

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

The Liberals have no plan to address apprenticeship support and just continue to play the blame game. They mismanage VET FEE-HELP – then blame everyone but themselves. 

They axe $1 billion in apprenticeship support and numbers drop by 25 per cent. They have no plan to actually help apprentices start and complete their apprenticeships, no plan to increase apprentice numbers and no plan to back TAFE.

Before the election, Tony Abbott promised that the Liberals would provide better support for Australia’s apprentices – sadly, they have cut funding and defaulted to their fallback position of relying heavily on 457 visas without also investing in skills and training.

Last year, on National TAFE Day, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Ms Bird announced Labor’s plan to back TAFE into the future by developing a National Priority Plan, to place TAFE squarely as the public provider within the VET sector and ensure TAFE’s viability and strength into the future.

Having defined the unique role of TAFE as our public provider, a Shorten Labor Government’s negotiation with the States and Territories will work to deliver on this by providing quarantined and guaranteed funding to TAFE.

Labor has also announced a full, evidence-based review of the vocational education and training system to build a stronger VET sector and weed out dodgy providers and student rip-offs.

A Shorten Labor Government will ensure the sector is capable of preparing Australians for the jobs of the future.