Chesters: Labor commits to TAFE funding

One of Federal Labor's first policy announcements will be to guarantee Federal Government funding for TAFE including the Bendigo Kangan Institute, says Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP. 

Labor believes the Federal Government must pay its fair share and contribute towards funding Bendigo Kangan Institute. 

“This funding commitment is critical. Both the former Liberal State Government and now Liberal Federal Government gutted funding to TAFEs resulting in courses being cut and job losses. 

“Cuts to TAFE are having an impact on apprenticeship numbers. This, combined with the Turnbull Abbott Government’s slashing of $1billion from apprenticeship programs, has resulted in a massive fall in apprenticeship numbers. 

Figures released this week by the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) show the devastating impact two years of Liberal cuts have had on apprenticeships. 

“Under this Liberal government the number of apprenticeships in Australia has fallen by almost 100,000 and the number of those completing apprenticeships has halved from 63,000 in June 2013 to just 29,700 in June 2015.  

“I know from talking to local school-leavers and their families, there are simply not enough apprenticeship opportunities in Bendigo and Central Victoria. 

“There simply are neither the apprenticeships nor the TAFE courses that were available locally a generation ago.

 “Bendigo Kangan Institute is still in the rebuild phase post the devastating Liberal Governments cuts. 

“This commitment from Labor must be matched by Turnbull Liberal Government. The Federal Government must contribute and pay its fair share. 

Two years of cuts have had a devastating impact on both the number of apprentices in training and on apprentices completing their training: 

• $1 billion in cuts to apprenticeship programs such as mentoring, access and the Apprentice to Business Owner program  in the 2014-15 Budget;

• Replaced apprentice support with apprentice debt by abolishing the Tools for Your Trade Program;

• Rebadged and cut funding to Australian Apprenticeship Centres;

• Abolished the Joint Group Training program;

• Cutting support for adult apprentices; and

• It is vital that we invest in ensuring that young people have the skills they need for the jobs of the future.