Labor commits to wide-ranging national VET review

First proper review since 1974

16 March 2016

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Election 2016Labor will launch a comprehensive review of the vocational education and training sector – equivalent to the landmark Gonski Review into school funding and the Bradley Review of higher education –  if it wins office at the next election. The review would be the first such inquiry into the VET sector since the Kangan Report in 1974, which actually coined the term TAFE.  The 2011 Gonski review triggered major changes to school funding (albeit, a major tranche of which is now uncertain) while the 2008 Bradley review into higher education led to the uncapping of undergraduate student places, allowing universities to enrol as many students as they choose.………………………………………………………………………………………….……

In announcing the proposed review, Labor vocational education spokeswoman Sharon Bird said:Sharon Bird

The vocational education and training sector deserves a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to policy-making to ensure it is fit for the critical task of preparing Australians for the jobs of the future.

While schools and universities have had full reviews into funding with the Gonski and Bradley reviews the vocational education and training sector has been left behind.

This is a large and complex sector and after the damage that has been done to it we need a serious, evidence-based response.

The announcement comes after years of crises in  TAFE and widespread rorting and cost blow-outs in the federal government’s vocational loans scheme.

Separately, Labor has undertaken “to back TAFE into the future by developing a comprehensive National Priority Plan that defines the unique role of TAFE as our public provider and delivers on this by working with the states and territories to provide ongoing guaranteed TAFE funding”.

Labor has already undertaken to:

  • Establish a VET Ombudsman;
  • Cap tuition fees in line with how university fees are set;
  • Lower the lifetime limit for VET FEE-HELP loans to half the current amount;
  • Require loan applications for students to be handled by the department rather than a private college or broker;
  • Ban or place restriction on brokers;
  • Provide the Minister with the power to suspend payments to a private college under investigation.

 

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