TAFE grants rescinded

The Australian    |    19 December 2013

TAFEs have slammed the government’s  decision to shut them out of a competitive capital grants fund, reneging on $76 million awarded by the previous government.

TDA-logo2The grants, to TAFEs in the Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland and NSW North Coast, would have supported three of the 12 projects approved by the Education Investment Fund’s advisory board.

The former Labor government originally intended to fund nine of them. But it pulled the plug on the other six to fund small business tax cuts promised during the election campaign – a move branded as “outstanding hypocrisy” by then opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne.

At the time the Coalition committed to honour EIF grants signed off by the government, and to assess others approved by the advisory board.

The government has now gone further than Labor, pulling the plug on all nine projects in the mid-year economic statement.

It justified the move on a technicality, saying formal funding agreements had not been signed for the three projects.

The move means no vocational colleges will receive money from the EIF’s $500 million regional priorities round, negotiated with the

Martin Riordan, Director TDA

Martin Riordan, Director TDA

previous government by former independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor. About a dozen university projects received funding.

TAFE Directors Australia CEO Martin Riordan said he is worried about future Commonwealth funding flows.

There’s full federal withdrawal from skills and training. It’s ominous for the future of a federal training system when we’re seeing this sort of approach.

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