SA TAFE facing BIG cuts and fee increases

The Australian      |     21   December 2013

TAFE in South Australia faces massive funding cuts and course caps at a time when Holden’s closure is expected to trigger huge demand for retraining.

TAFE SA 2The Weekend Australian reports the state government will next year slash $83 million or about 45% from TAFE South Australia’s budget, initiating a round of redundancies and course closures.

The cuts appear to have been prompted by a blowout in the state’s training budget. After opening its training funding to full private competition last year, it had reached its target of 100,000 additional enrolments three years ahead of schedule.

Victoria, which introduced a similar system in 2009, unleashed a series of funding cuts and policy changes after its training budget blew out by $400m, sparking course and campus closures and thousands of training job losses.

South Australia is introducing similar changes, with “purchase limits” to be applied to courses from mid next year. This contradicts the underpinning philosophy of the state’s open training market, known as Skills for All, which is that colleges can admit all eligible students who want to enrol.

Acting Skills Minister Tom Kenyon would not confirm or deny the $83m budget cut, saying only that state government funding for TAFE had increased by $37m over the past four years to about $182m.

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