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Sunday, 5th December 2021

Free TAFE and More Uni Places for a Future Made in Australia

with Richard Marles MP & Tanya Plibersek MP

An Albanese Labor Government will deliver secure, well-paid jobs, by investing in the skills Australia needs to drive future economic growth.

Labor will provide Australians access to Free TAFE, create more university places and tackle the skill shortages that are holding back our COVID-19 comeback.

Under Labor, Australians studying in an industry with a skills shortage will be supported through the provision of free TAFE.

Our $1.2 billion Future Made in Australia Skills Plan will focus on closing the gap on key areas of skills shortages with new places at university and TAFE.

This is good policy for jobs, good policy for people looking to train or retrain, and good policy for businesses, which need more skilled workers.

For nearly a decade, the Liberal-National Government has cut TAFE and slashed apprenticeships. Today we have 85,000 fewer apprenticeships and traineeships compared to 2013.

At the same time, it’s getting harder and more expensive to go to uni.

The proportion of applicants who get an offer of a place at university has fallen every year since the Liberal Government slashed university funding. This year, the offer rate fell to its lowest level in years. 

This has happened in the face of the stark economic reality that nine out of ten jobs of the future will require a VET qualification or a university degree.

One in four Australian businesses are experiencing critical skills shortages at the same time there are 2 million Australians who are either looking for a job or want to work more hours.


Free TAFE will help rebuild industries hit hardest by the pandemic, like hospitality and tourism, as well as meet current and future needs in the care economy, including jobs like child care, aged care, disability care, nursing and community services.

It will also provide more opportunities for apprentices and trainees. And fill skills shortage gaps like those in trades and construction, resources, digital and cyber security, new energy and advanced manufacturing.

Free TAFE will provide opportunities for school leavers, workers wanting to retrain or upskill, and unpaid carers – who are predominantly women – to get back into the workforce.

Under Labor’s plan for free TAFE, we will focus on those areas which are currently seeing a critical skills gap, because of the Morrison Government’s neglect.

Labor’s Future Made in Australia Skills Plan will close this gap, and boost these critical workforces by providing 465,000 Free TAFE places, including 45,000 new TAFE places.

Labor’s $50 million TAFE Technology Fund will improve IT facilities, workshops, laboratories and tele-health simulators across the country.

Additionally, Labor will work closely with industry and unions for opportunities which allow workers to transfer and build on their accredited micro credential training.

Labor is committed to investing in the jobs of the future which is why our $100 million New Energy Apprenticeships will encourage and support 10,000 apprentices to train in new energy jobs, and provide the additional support they need to complete their training.

While many states and territories have invested in the skills and training sector, the Morrison Government has neglected the backbone of our vocational educational system – public TAFE.

Labor will end privatisation by stealth – ensuring at least 70 per cent of Commonwealth vocational education funding is for public TAFE.

More university places

Labor’s Future Made in Australia Skills Plan will also deliver up to 20,000 new university places.

This will help fix areas of skills shortages and fill future skills needs by training Australians in jobs including engineering, nursing, tech, and teaching.

Places will also be prioritised for universities offering more opportunities for under-represented groups such as people in regional, remote and outer-suburban areas, those who are the first in their family to study at university, and First Nations Australians.

Our Year 12s have had the final school years from hell.

Our students didn’t ask for this significant disruption.

Labor’s commitment will help lighten the load for school leavers at a very stressful time.

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Rd
Marrickville NSW 2204

Phone: 02 9564 3588

Parliament House Office

Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 7700

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734

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