New hope for public VET system Australia wide

There was a renewed feeling of optimism at the National TAFE Council Annual General Meeting in Melbourne this year as delegates reflected on changes to TAFE funding policy under a newly elected Federal Government.

Around 40 delegates, observers and union officers representing all states and the ACT gathered at Victorian Australian Education Union (AEU) offices in Clarendon Street, Southbank. They shared stories about the damaging effects of a decade of contestable funding on vocational education across the nation and resolved to rebuild our TAFE system.

Federal Labor policy guarantees a minimum 70 per cent of all commonwealth vocational education funding for TAFE as well as significant capital investment.

The $50 million TAFE Technology Fund will improve IT facilities, workshops, laboratories and telehealth simulators across the country.

This investment will be a vital to reinvigorate ageing TAFE facilities and represents the start of a significant investment in TAFE nationally.

Guest speakers included:

  • Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor
  • ACTU Secretary Sally McManus
  • Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi
  • former ALP senator ALP Doug Cameron.

Federal President Correna Haythorpe also addressed the meeting.

Mr O’Connor reasserted the ALP’s commitment to TAFE and reported that state and territory leaders would not sign off on the replacement policy for the National Partnership on Skills Reform drafted by the former Morrison Government, citing a failure to reach a consensus as the cause for the delay.

This certainly brings new hope for public TAFE systems Australia wide as it foreshadows a change in direction; away from the privatisation of vocational education.

Our next major federal event for TAFE is National TAFE Day, which is an annual opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the public TAFE system as a highly regarded educational institution, which for decades has supported and provided opportunities for individuals, communities and employers. It’s also a time to demand that politicians properly fund and support TAFE.

More information on how Federation members can participate on the day will be provided closer to the date.