New Minister makes TAFE AGM first port of call
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 5, 8 July 2022, page no.10
The National TAFE Council (NTC) AGM in Melbourne on 17 and 18 June welcomed the newly minted Federal Minister for Skills and Training.
In his first official engagement as Minister, Brendan O’Connor (pictured below) provided the NTC with assurances regarding the policy directions of the Albanese Labor government.
A long-standing Member of the Federal Parliament, Minister O’Connor was elected in 2004 to represent the electorate of Gorton in Victoria. He first joined the Ministry in December 2007.
In his speech, the Minister clarified the Albanese government’s intention to ensure that 70 per cent of all government funding will is directed to the public TAFE system.
This will require discussions with states and territories as the VET system is a shared responsibility of federal, state, and territory governments. The federal government will want to make sure that the states do not withdraw their TAFE funding in response to Commonwealth increases. Negotiations around the national skills funding agreement are not complete, providing a prime opportunity to reset the funding of TAFE and to ensure its status as the cornerstone of the vocational education system.
Minister O’Connor identified a mounting list of problems left by the previous incumbents that the new government is going to have to resolve, but he stated that Labor’s priority is meeting the commitments made during the election campaign. In vocational education, as well as providing 70 per cent of all government funding to TAFE, this includes 465,000 free TAFE places in skills shortage areas and $50 million earmarked to improve technology and access on campuses.