The Australian | 6 June 2013
TAFE centres could lead an outsourcing drive in Queensland, with the Newman government pitting the private and public sectors against each other in delivering training services. Just a day after delivering the Liberal National Party government’s second budget, Treasurer Tim Nicholls said TAFE centres were a priority for “contestability” reforms, which are likely to include other parts of the education and health departments.
The government has previously flagged outsourcing in its drive to save money as it grapples with falling state revenues and spiralling debt, with Peter Costello’s Commission of Audit into Queensland’s finances warning that privatising some services and asset sales was needed to reclaim the state’s AAA credit rating.
At a post-budget lunch, in response to a question as to whether TAFE centres — administered by the state and getting partial federal funding — would be privatised, Nicholls said
The Education Minister (John-Paul Langbroek) has undertaken a very extensive review of the TAFE system. I think it is fair to say that is one of the areas of reform in Queensland that will be very much at the top of our list when it comes to contestability issues.
We are aware of the various models which are being promoted, including in Victoria, where it has probably been most aggressively reformed. We are starting down that process at the moment; cabinet has made some decisions in relation to the reform agenda.
I think there will be more to come in that space.
He said the government would not sell assets without a mandate at the next state election, due by mid-2015.