The Australian Education Union has welcomed the bold TAFE funding reform initiated by the Albanese Federal Government as it celebrates the annual National TAFE Day today on 6 September.
“For the first time in over a decade, we can celebrate National TAFE Day in the manner it deserves to be celebrated,” AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said.
“After years of systematic damage committed by the former federal Coalition Government that saw funding withdrawn and campuses closed across the country, TAFE’s status as the anchor institute for provision of vocational education has been restored.”
At the Jobs and Skills Summit last week, PM Anthony Albanese announced a $1.1bn funding package for 180,000 fee-free TAFE places across Australia, putting TAFE at the heart of Australia’s jobs and skills pipeline as it should have always been.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the Federal Government to deliver the boost TAFE needs to continue providing quality skills education to all Australians.”
Ms Haythorpe paid tribute to TAFE teachers and staff for having seen their students through testing times during the peak of the pandemic even when the Coalition Government continued to actively undermine TAFE.
“TAFE provides quality education in all areas, including specialised and in-shortage skills like early childhood education and aged care.
“TAFE educates Australians from all walks of life, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds and learners with disability.
“With a stable and secure investment stream, TAFE can address skills shortages in the Australian labour market and create a robust pipeline of trained workers backed by high quality skills education.
“National TAFE Day is the perfect opportunity to start thinking about what is next for TAFE. As the details of the new funding agreements are developed, TAFE teachers must have a voice at the table through the union.
“Today, as we celebrate the achievements of TAFE teachers, we are seeking assurances that the promise of fee-free TAFE will provide funding to cover the full cost of course delivery, bolster resources and infrastructure on campus, recruit more qualified TAFE teachers and provide them with much-needed workload relief.
“The AEU is lobbying Federal MPs and Senators and calling for a guaranteed minimum of 70 per cent of total government funding for TAFE in the October budget,” Ms Haythorpe said.