11 June 2013
The Queensland government has released a “reform action plan”, its detailed response to the report of the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce. Great skills. Real opportunities confirms that full contestability of public funding will be phased in from 1 July 2013, to come into full operation from 1 July 2014. It also takes the concept of “competitive neutrality” to another level in Australia: the ownership of what are now TAFE facilities are to transferred to a new, yet to be determined entity, which will provide access to public training facilities for private providers as well as the public TAFE institutes.
This will leave TAFEs to focus on training while the separate entity manages their “ageing, under-utilised, ill-suited infrastructure”, according to the statement.
A “ministerial industry commission” chaired by the assistant minister for technical and further education, Saxon Rice, is to be established to as ” a genuine partnership between industry, employers and government to ensure that training investment matches skill needs.”
Rice said she expected TAFEs would have “first access” to the facilities they required, with private training organisations able to bid for leftover facilities. Details of how they will bid, and how long they could use the assets, are still to be decided.
The government’s statement summarises the reforms as:
- giving every Year 12 graduate an extra incentive to enrol in high priority qualifications by offering fee-free training if they start training with a preferred training provider within a year of leaving school
- providing Queenslanders with access to a government subsidised training place up to and including their first certificate III level qualification in priority training areas under the Certificate 3 Guarantee
- making $42 million in new government funding available contestably from 1 July 2013 to selected high quality providers to deliver priority certificate III level qualifications under the Certificate 3 Guarantee
- delivery of foundation skills including language, literacy and numeracy and other workplace preparation skills
- providing additional support for Queenslanders with diverse needs to gain a qualification through a new five-year $47 million Community Learning Program
- establishing a Ministerial Industry Commission that is a genuine partnership between industry, employers and government to ensure that training investment matches skill needs
- introducing a new investment framework to provide clear information to the market on priority skills and funding arrangements
- investing an additional $86 million over six years to create an extra 10 000 apprentice and trainee commencements, and improving apprenticeship and traineeship arrangements to make it easier to change employer or move interstate
- reforming TAFE Queensland to ensure it is competitive, responsive, innovative and flexible, including establishing TAFE Queensland as an independent statutory body overseen by a commercially focused board from 1 July 2013.