A Shorten Labor Government will super charge the skills economy by reversing the decline in apprentices and restoring TAFE as the centrepiece of Australian vocational education.
Under the Liberals, more than $3 billion has been cut from TAFE, skills and apprentices, and Australia now has 150,000 fewer apprentices and trainees than when Labor left government in 2013.
Labor’s announced a $1 billion investment that will provide 150,000 Additional Apprentice Incentives in areas of skill shortages – reversing the decline that has occurred under the Liberals.
If elected this year, Labor will enable 100,000 students to go to TAFE without upfront fees. A Shorten Labor Government will also:
• Invest $200 million to rebuild and upgrade TAFE campuses across the country.
• Support 10,000 young Australians to do a pre-apprentice program to prepare them for work.
• Provide support for 20,000 older workers to retrain through an Advanced Adult Apprenticeship.
• Guarantee at least two out of three dollars of public funding goes to public TAFE.
• Require at least one in 10 jobs on all major infrastructure and defence projects to be filled by an apprentice.
• Establish an Apprentice Advocate, to improve the quality of Australia’s apprentice system and develop a long term plan for skills and training.
On budget night, Australia saw the Treasurer’s cynical ‘pea and thimble trick’ with vocational education funding locking in a $3 billion cut to the sector.
The 300,000 projected apprentices and trainees the government promised in 2017 has now proven to be an illusion, with the target in this Budget revised down to just 80,000.
Josh Frydenberg’s claim that he is increasing vocational education funding is therefore nothing more than a cynical and desperate exercise to cover his cuts.
The reality is the Coalition Government has done absolutely nothing to address the 150,000 decline in apprenticeships or the 24.5 per cent drop in TAFE enrolments on their watch.