29 January 2014
Productivity Commission reports highlights stealth privatisation of TAFE
The Greens are for calling for a complete overhaul of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) funding system, after the release of the Productivity Commission report which shows an alarming increase of federal government funding of private training at the expense of TAFE.
The report has found that government spending on VET between 2011 and 2012* has fallen in real terms in Queensland, WA, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and NT. In NSW, VET funding is lower now than it was in 2003.
“Alarmingly, not only are we seeing a broad reduction of funds going into VET across the country, but we are also seeing a massive shift in funding away from public TAFE providers towards for-profit private training centres,” Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
“Thousands of TAFE jobs across the country have already been slashed as a result of this privatisation agenda, and there have been enormous fee increases, putting TAFE out of reach for many prospective students.
“Between 2011 and 2012, there was an enormous 20% increase in the amount of government funding to non-TAFE providers. A total of $1.4 billion is currently being spent on non-TAFE, private providers. This is a tripling in public funding of private providers since 2008, where $455 million was spent.
“Right now, 23 cents in every dollar governments are spending on VET is going to private providers. This is up from 11 cents in the dollar in 2008.
“25% of all VET funding is funded through “competitive tendering” which is accessible by both TAFE and non-TAFE private providers. This is up massively from 2008, where only 1.7% was funded through competitive tenders.
“This funding system is seeing money bleed from TAFE to private providers and it is TAFE students and staff that are bearing the cost of this privatisation by stealth.
“This year we will be campaigning hard to rebuild TAFE across the country, to stop the cuts and privatisations and boost funding to grow our skills base and strengthen our economy,” Senator Rhiannon said.
*The most recent years where data is available
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