The Senate Education and Employment References Committee today heard worrying evidence about the condition of the Australia’s Vocational Education Training (VET) system.

Tim Shipstone of ACTU told the Senate Committee that the issues in the VET sector:

“Cannot continue the way that they have been”. 

The ACTU’s submission to the Senate committee goes on to state that:


“In the end, it has been students and workers receiving poor quality training that does little or nothing to help them in the job market who have been penalised”.

Stephen Bolton of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) told the Senate Committee that business is concerned with graduates’ qualifications as they are constantly finding that:


“People don’t have the skills that their piece of paper says they do”.


Mr Shipstone went on to welcome the Labor’s plan to reform the contestable funding model and guarantee that a set portion of funding will be allocated to TAFE.

Australians have seen regular, persistent and disturbing media reports in recent months of TAFE under pressure, staffing reductions, ever-increasing course costs and unscrupulous private providers and brokers preying on vulnerable people.

Evidence presented to the Senate Committee today confirmed that there has been a failure in the market and a proliferation of opportunistic and sub-standard training providers costing taxpayers and students millions of dollars.

This needs to stop. Labor understands that TAFE must be backed by governments as it is critical to training Australians to fill the jobs of the future.

Under Labor’s plan for TAFE, a Shorten Labor Government will work with the States and Territories on a comprehensive National Priority Plan that defines the unique role of TAFE and places it squarely as the public provider within the VET sector.

The Australian economy can only thrive when its workforce has access to great training and retraining in order to deliver participation, productivity, innovation and growth into the future.

Labor will work with the VET sector to rebalance the contestable and non-contestable funding model to ensure it delivers the outcomes that are intended. 

Labor believes there is a place for contestable funding but we must get the balance right.

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