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Survival of TAFE dependent on Greens rescue package

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 19 Aug 2013

The Greens today said the all-important tertiary and vocational education (TAFE) sector would not survive if it had to compete increasingly with private training providers.

In Brisbane today, the Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the federal government’s overhaul of funding arrangements had directed billions of dollars to private training providers ahead of TAFEs.

Senator Rhiannon said the Greens “rescue package” of $1.2 billion would revitalise TAFE.

“The ALP government funding has unfairly forced TAFEs to compete with private providers for public funding, resulting in campus closures, course cuts, rising fees and job losses,” Senator Rhiannon said.

She said the Greens would inject $400 million per year for TAFE, starting from 1 July 2014 over the forward estimates.

Both the Queensland Teachers Union and the Together Union support the Greens’ position.

The Greens lead Senate candidate Adam Stone said TAFE “does the heavy lifting” in Vocational Education and Training, providing the more involved and expensive training that the economy really needs.

Mr Stone said 1.3 million of the 1.9 million students studying vocational education in Australia in 2011 were enrolled at a TAFE institute. Of that number, 230,000 were in Queensland.

"When Vocational Education and Training is opened up to private competition, private providers pick off the cheap and easy courses that allow an easy profit,” Mr Stone said.  “That erodes the financial viability and quality of our TAFEs and risks leaving us short on the more sophisticated skills that our economy needs to grow and thrive.”

The policy, costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office, would be funded by the $42.7 billion of new revenue savings announced by the Greens on July 24, including fixing the mining tax, placing a levy on the big banks, ending tax breaks to fossil fuel companies and introducing a millionaires tax.

For more information:

Brami Jegan (for Senator Rhiannon) Ph. 0487 350 880
Adam Stone: Ph. 0417 629 852;
Kate Dennehy, Qld Greens Media Adviser: Ph. 0422 294 771 

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