The Liberals need to admit they’ve got it wrong and go back to the drawing board on their poisonous move to blow up TAFE or risk locking students out of the courses they need to get jobs.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said the government’s plans to privatise TAFE will mean fewer courses and higher fees, while doing nothing to address Tasmania’s chronic skills shortage.
“For seven years, the Liberals have undermined and underinvested in TAFE, with enrolments declining by more than 30 per cent under their watch,” Ms White said.
“Now, the Premier appears determined to push ahead with plans to blow up TAFE up entirely.
“Despite Mr Gutwein’s claims that it will not be privatised, it is clear that the institution will run on a ‘cost-recovery’ model that will massively increase costs for both students and employers.
“At the moment, student fees represent just over 10 per cent of TAFE’s budget but under the Liberals’ model, forcing TAFE to recover all costs, course costs will skyrocket by ten times, leaving students unable to afford the courses they need.
“Not only that, but the government’s plan has not been costed, meaning the impact on the budget is an unknown black hole.
“As a result, TAFE workers are uncertain about what the future holds and the future of courses in regional areas like Smithton, Scottsdale and Huonville is up in the air.
“In contrast, Labor’s fully-costed Free TAFE policy, which is in addition to our broader plan to rebuild TAFE from the ground up, will support another 20,000 Tasmanians to get a foot in the door to a good job.
“We will invest $22.5 million over four years to expand the teaching workforce by approximately 20 per cent, improve regional delivery and align training with workforce needs, to help Tasmanian businesses and provide Tasmanians with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”
Rebecca White MP