Evans warns on Vic TAFE cuts

 Media Centre    7 August 2012

Victoria’s share of federal incentive funding for vocational reforms could be at risk unless it relents on cuts to its public TAFE sector, Commonwealth Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans warned after meeting with students affected by the TAFE cutbacks in Victoria.

…we don’t want to punish the TAFEs in Victoria Victorian TAFE students by reducing Commonwealth contribution to Victorian TAFE funding. ..But equally, there’s no point in the Commonwealth Government increasing funding to Victorian TAFEs if in fact the overall funding is being reduced by the state’s pulling their funding out…the Commonwealth will obviously have to look at its options and the levers it has available to try and make sure that the Commonwealth expenditure is value for money.   We’re not going to reward Victoria for running down its TAFE system and denying opportunity to Victorian students.

The Commonwealth is offering the states financial incentives to sign up to market-based reforms to their vocational training systems, includng $435 million to Victoria across five years with almost $60m available in 2012-13.

When pressed on the point that that in promoting “contestability”, the Labor government “can take some of the blame for this situation”, Evans responded:

We continue to support a model that allows for competition. We don’t think the public provider ought to be the only provider and we think the changes that have been made should allow us to develop a better overall system.   But that’s not to say that you downgrade the public provider…TAFE is a vital part of the training infrastructure in this country.  It’s at the centre of that infrastructure, and anything that downgrades the TAFE infrastructure and TAFE’s capacity downgrades the capacity of the Australian training system.

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