Oct 13, 2003

Anderson invents much needed TAFE places


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 13 October 2003

Today in Question Time Deputy Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Anderson was exposed as not only dreaming up fictitious families who he hopes might be future National Party voters, but also fictitious TAFE places.

When asked why his Government wouldn’t provide more TAFE places in light of the skills shortage crisis in regional Australia the Deputy Prime Minister replied:

“…there will be increase, a very substantial increase in the number of places under the higher education reforms being brought forward by the Minister for Education.”

Despite this claim by the Deputy Prime Minister there was not one new TAFE place announced as part of the Government’s reform to higher education. Furthermore, the Federal Government is not offering a single dollar of growth funding in the Australian National Training Authority Agreement currently being negotiated with the States and Territories.

Either Mr Anderson is not aware of his own Government’s policies or intentionally sought to mislead the electorate.

Dreaming up TAFE places will not address the critical shortage of skilled workers in regional Australia.

Many local businesses in regional Australia are crying out for skilled workers. For example, the Chairman of the Gladstone Area Industry Network recently told the Senate Skills Inquiry:

“…we required stainless steel pipe welders… We ended up having to bring in people from Brisbane, Melbourne and all around the place…”

This situation is an indictment on the Government’s approach to training and their cuts to TAFE funding.

Labor on the other hand is committed to giving the unemployed and young people living in regional communities the skills necessary to take up the employment opportunities that do exist.

Specifically, Labor will create an additional 20,000 TAFE places.

Instead of creating fictitious TAFE places, Mr Anderson and his National Party colleagues should concentrate on addressing the shortage of skilled workers in regional communities.