Concerns on edu investment

AN independent report showing the State Government leads the country in vocational education investment has been greeted cautiously by a local educator.

Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE Australian Education Union sub-branch president Phil Smith said recently he was concerned about where the money was to be allocated, and where it would come from.

“(Vocational education) is a broad sector,” Mr Smith said.

“It would be nice to see some detail so people know what they are talking about.

“As someone who is involved in TAFEs and the AEU, there is no mention where the money is going to be spent.”

In a report released at the end of September by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, it was reported Victoria invested more in vocational education and training than any other state.

Over the next four years, the State Government has plans to invest almost $5 billion in training subsidies alone, including a new investment of $1.033 billion.

In a statement announcing the report’s findings, Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall welcomed the report.

“With a population that comprises 24 per cent of all Australians, Victoria provided 33 per cent of all State and Territory funding for vocational education delivery and support last year,” Mr Hall said.

“Despite the scaremongering and misinformation led by Senator (Chris) Evans and the union interests – to which he is held hostage – the simple fact remains that Victoria is leading the country in training, providing a true market-driven system, yet taking the necessary steps to encourage Victorians into skills that will drive long-term employment and economic growth.”

The statement from Mr Hall’s office also highlighted the government provided 34 per cent of all investment in property, plant and equipment services, while at the same time spending $187 million less on administration than New South Wales.

Meanwhile, State Government Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Skills Steve Herbert said the Baillieu Government’s attempt to “spin its $290 million cuts to TAFE” meant little to those who had reduced access to training and faced spiralling course costs while hundreds of staff stood to lose their jobs.

“Labor ensured that if people wanted to re-skill or up-skill that there was an affordable place for each Victorian, while Ted Baillieu is making TAFE courses more expensive and further out of reach, particularly for those in regional areas,” Mr Herbert said.