Victoria’s TAFE Budget under Labor is hollow and full of spin

Liberal Party Victoria

The Allan Labor Government’s skills and training budget is hollow, with Minister Gayle Tierney at pains to avoid answering how much of it is courtesy of Commonwealth Government funding or re-purposed from past budget allocations.

In Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) inquiry, government bureaucrats revealed the skills and TAFE budget comprised money from previous budget allocations being “rephased” to this year’s budget, and many programs being wholly or partially funded by the Commonwealth Government.

Furthermore, it was revealed in the inquiry that only around half of students taking up Free TAFE courses are completing these courses, and the Minister did not deny that around $230 million of Victorian taxpayers’ money is being wasted on course fees for students not finishing.

Completion rates across a variety of courses including construction and building, and early childhood education, are incredibly low, making it increasingly difficult for Labor to tackle Victoria’s skills shortages, with the government’s own data showing a further 352,000 workers are required to fill shortages across the state by 2026.

Shadow Minister for Skills and Training, Bridget Vallence, said: “The Allan Labor Government’s skills and TAFE budget is hollow and full of spin, being significantly propped up by Commonwealth funding.

“Under Labor, Victorian TAFE is the lowest funded in the country, TAFE teachers are forced to work unpaid overtime, and Free TAFE course completion rates are mediocre with only around 50 per cent of students finishing.

“Labor has failed to address the emerging crisis in Victoria’s TAFE system and this budget does nothing to tackle the dire skills shortages across the state.

“Labor can’t manage money and Victorians are paying the price.”

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