Australia’s TAFE, apprenticeship and skills sector is facing massive cuts under the Turnbull Government that will leave students in NSW more than $165 million worse off every year.
Today, Member for Whitlam, Stephen Jones, and Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, are calling on Malcolm Turnbull to step in and stop these cuts in the May budget.
The National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform – funded and delivered by the former Labor government – provides vital funding to states and territories to support TAFE, apprenticeship and skills programs.
This $500 million a year national agreement expires on 30 June this year – and the Turnbull Government’s own budget papers show there is nothing to replace it.
“It’s not too late for Malcolm Turnbull to stop this cut – the question is, does he want to?” Stephen Jones said.
“Ripping more money out of our local TAFE and apprenticeship programs will mean higher fees, fewer course options and less industry experience for students.
“The Liberals have cut more than $2.5 billion from skills and training programs and there are 130,000 fewer apprentices in Australia than when they were elected in 2013.
“Coming on top of the cuts already made by the Abbott/Turnbull government, this is a kick in the guts,” said Sharon Bird.
“It beggars belief that Malcolm Turnbull’s budget includes a $50 billion tax handout to big business and the banks, but he can’t find $500 million to properly fund TAFE and training programs.
“In contrast Labor has already committed to one in ten jobs on federally funded priority projects going to an Australian apprentice and to restoring TAFE as the backbone of our training system.”