Prime Minister Morrison must restore TAFE for Australia’s Future

If Australia’s new Prime Minister wants to ensure economic growth and stability for Australia’s future, he must restore the majority of public funding for vocational education to TAFE.

Over recent years, the contestable funding model has cost Australia billions of dollars in rorted loans schemes that have allowed dodgy private colleges to scam millions of dollars. This has come at the expense of students and apprentices who have been saddled with large debts but without qualifications.

Meanwhile, TAFE, the public vocational education provider, has been forced to compete for funding, which has resulted in a reduction in course options able to be offered as well as a significant rise in course fees.

This period has also seen the number of apprentices and trainees drop dramatically – with more than 140,000 fewer students enrolled in trades programs since 2013. These apprentices are the tradespeople who are a crucial pillar of Australia’s workforce and economy, and immediate action is needed to ensure we have the skilled workers needed in coming years.

If Scott Morrison is serious about Australia’s economic future he must reinstate a minimum of 70 per cent non-contestable funding to TAFE to ensure the sector is able to provide much-needed vocational education for every student and industry.