The Report on Government Services released today is another nail in the coffin of Andrews’ claim that he has saved TAFE. This report highlights that he has further cut funding for vocational education, has cut student numbers and is failing regional students.
Labor Government recurrent funding allocation has dropped $81.4 million in a single year, reflecting a massive reduction of $159 million since 2014. This is the biggest annual decline in Australia.
In contrast, nearly every other state has increased funding and New South Wales increased its funding by over $150 million last year.
The Labor Government tries to hide these figures, claiming that Free TAFE will reverse its cuts. Yet the $66 million delivered for Free TAFE in 2019-20 does not even make up the cuts in the previous year, not to mention the cuts since 2014.
This failure to fund VET has resulted in a drop of 25,000 government-funded students in one year, a 9.3 per cent reduction. The cuts have disproportionately affected regional students, with a 28 per cent decline in the number of regional students since 2015. These are students who are already disadvantaged by limited choices within their area, and the choice many have to make is to leave home to get the training they deserve.
How can we ensure our students have the skills they need to get the fulfilling jobs they deserve if the Government won’t provide the necessary funding? The Government is hurting our students’ prospects for meaningful careers and failing to support our regional communities.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training and Skills, Mary Wooldridge:
“The Andrews Government is hiding its cuts behind Free TAFE and it’s our students who are suffering.
“You can’t claim to have saved TAFE when at the same time you’re ripping $150 million of funding out of the training and skills budget.
“With 25,000 fewer government-funded students in Victoria last year and a massive decline in our regional students under Andrews, it’s time Labor comes clean about the damage its done to our training sector.”