Birmingham needs to stop the blame game on declining TAFE numbers

Nicholas McCallum

MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday July 4, 2018

Education Minister Simon Birmingham must stop blaming previous governments for declining TAFE numbers because the Abbott-Turnbull Governments have been in charge for the past five years. ­­

TAFE enrolments across Australia plunged 6.5 per cent across Australia between 2016-2017, according to new figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

The decline follows the downward trend that has seen Australians enrolled in TAFE and VET courses drop by more than 37 per cent since the Abbott-Turnbull governments took office.

Electrical Trades Union National Apprentice Officer Mark Burgess said it was time for “Basket-weaving Birmo” to take ownership of his portfolio and stop the drop-offs happening under his watch.

“Again we see more evidence that TAFE enrolments are dropping and again the only response from Basket-weaving Birmo is to blame a government that left office five years ago,” Mr Burgess said.

“It’s no wonder numbers are declining when the Abbott-Turnbull governments have slashed more than $3 billion in TAFE funding with another $270 million ripped out in the last budget.

“We know how little Birmo and the Liberals think of TAFE students, with the disparaging comments about ‘subsidised basket weaving’, but if he had any sense he would stop cutting and start investing in Australia’s future tradespeople.”

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks said Australia needs to see immediate increases in numbers for all its trades in all states and territories.

“In every other state and territory and in almost every trade the number of people in TAFE is falling,” Mr Hicks said.

“We need immediate increases in all our trades if Australia is to keep building and advancing through this century.

“The Turnbull Government should be ashamed of their record when it comes to apprentice numbers. Our future economic prosperity relies on having a highly skilled workforce.

“The numbers speak for themselves, Birmingham needs to stop blaming others for his failures as an education minister or he needs to step down so someone more competent can take over to save our bleeding TAFE numbers,” Mr Hicks said.

Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum

0419 499 886, [email protected]

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