Responding to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's announcement on TAFE, Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the government's plan will fail unless they also overhaul the current VET funding arrangements that have directed billions of dollars to private training providers ahead of TAFEs.
"The Greens are calling on the government to make TAFE the preferred funded provider and to back the Greens rescue package that will inject $400 million per year for TAFE, starting from 1 July 2014 over the forward estimates," Senator Rhiannon said.
"The government needs to recognise that to rebuild a strong vocational education and training system it needs to ensure that TAFE is always the preferred funded provider of courses where it can deliver those courses.
"Funding changes with the states are needed but the federal government needs to accept some of the blame for the run down in TAFE.
"Under Labor TAFE has been forced to compete with private providers for public funding, resulting in campus closures, course cuts and rising fees. Many staff have lost their job.
"The competitive VET funding system that the Labor government oversaw in 2011 allowed over $1 billion to go to private providers.
"The system needs a complete overhaul in order to achieve the skilled workforce and the related productivity growth.
"If the federal government does not act to change the system it oversees, money will continue to be lost from TAFE to private providers. TAFE students and staff will bear the cost of this privatisation by stealth.
"About 50 per cent of all government competitive funding has been going to non-TAFE providers, most of which are private providers," said Senator Rhiannon.
Contact: Senator Rhiannon - 0487 350 880