Sep 22, 2004

North Coast TAFE to benefit from Labor’s plan for training and education


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 22 September 2004

Today Anthony Albanese MP, Shadow Minister for Employment Services and Training, confirmed that a Latham Labor Government will create additional places at the North Coast Institute of TAFE as part of an additional 20,000 places nationally.

Mr Albanese was joined by Kevin Bell, Labor’s Candidate for Page, for the announcement and a tour of the Institute’s Grafton Campus.

“Education is a great passion of mine, and I’m pleased a Latham Labor Government will create 20,000 new TAFE places, including many right here in Grafton.

“As a high school teacher for 10 years I was proud to send many of my students on to further studies at TAFE and fully appreciate how important this Institute is to creating opportunity in our local communities,” said Mr Bell.

Along with Grafton, the Ballina, Casino, Lismore, Trenayr and Wollongbar campuses of the North Coast Institute of TAFE will also get additional places.

The teenage unemployment rate in Page stands at 28.4% – one of the highest rates in the country.

“Despite persistently high levels of teenage unemployment, the Howard Government has refused to properly fund our TAFE institutions. Last year alone 15,000 young Australians were turned away from TAFE due to a lack of places.”

“It is crazy that at a time when local businesses are having great difficulties finding tradespersons, young people are being turned away from TAFE,” said Mr Albanese.

According to the Federal Government’s own Australian JobSearch website – an online jobs board – in Page there are currently 141 vacancies for workers skilled in the ‘traditional’ trades, including 14 carpenters and jointers; 13 motor mechanics; 11 electricians; 6 plumbers; and 16 chefs.

As well as expanding TAFE places, Labor’s strategy for addressing local skill shortages will also include:

• The abolition of TAFE fees for students wanting to learn a trade while still at high school; and

• The establishment of a new Jobs Gateway where local businesses wanting to take on and train early school leavers will have access to a wage and training subsidies worth up to $10,200.

“Labor will invest in the talents of all our young people and make sure local employers can get the skilled workers they need to grow their businesses.”

“The time for action is now and only Labor has a positive agenda for Page,” said Mr Bell.