A Shorten Labor Government will scrap upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students who choose to learn the skills that Australia needs. 

Many trades face skills shortages – from carpenters to bricklayers to bakers to pastry cooks. But despite high unemployment in some areas, workers can’t learn the skills that industries are crying out for.

TAFE is the best place for young Tasmanians to develop these skills in the communities that need them.

Labor’s policy to scrap upfront fees will make it easier for Australians to gain the skills they need to get a trade, a traineeship and a quality job – and make it easier for businesses to fill skills shortages.

This is part of Labor’s $470 million plan to boost TAFE, apprenticeships and skills for Australians.

The Liberals’ budget cuts have left our skills and training sector in chronic decline.

In the last five years, more than $3 billion has been cut from TAFE and training, including $270 million in this budget,and Northern Tasmania has 1,300 fewer apprentices today than we did when the Liberals were first elected.

TAFE courses have been cut, campuses have closed and TAFE teachers have lost their jobs.

This has reduced employment opportunities for middle and working class people, including women, young people and workers retraining later in life. These are jobs that are necessary to sustain communities.

It has also limited our capacity to meet demand in growing occupations in the disability, aged care, and technology focused sectors.

While Malcolm Turnbull cuts from skills and TAFE to pay for an $80 billion tax handout to big business, Labor has a plan to invest in TAFE and apprenticeships, and ensure Australians have the skills they need to succeed in our changing economy.

In addition to our commitment to waive fees for 100,000 students, Labor will:
• Invest $100 million in modernising TAFE facilities around the country.
• Guarantee at least two out of three Commonwealth training dollars goes to TAFE.
• Ensure one in every ten jobs on Commonwealth priority projects are filled by Australians apprentices, including right here in Northern Tasmania .
• Provide 10,000 pre-apprentice programs for young people who want to learn a trade.
• Provide 20,000 adult apprentice programs for older workers who need to retrain.

Labor’s plan has a budget impact of $473 million over the forward estimates and $708 million over the medium term.

At a state level, Tasmanian Labor is calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry chronic lack of apprenticeships and shortfalls in training places.

We need to understand why these positions have disappeared and where the training dollars have gone.

The Liberal Government is trumpeting growth in areas such as residential and commercial construction but serious questions need to be answered about why apprentice numbers have not grown at the same time and in fact have gone backward.

Government should be consulting closely with industry but under the Liberals that just has not happened.

Labor went to the Tasmanian election with a commitment to grow the economy and build for the future through true partnerships with industry by establishing eight Industry Advisory Councils across key sectors including building and construction, minerals and energy, advanced manufacturing, tourism and education.

In stark contrast, the Hodgman Government has overseen the mass loss of positions and an unfortunate loss of confidence in our TAFE system.

Tasmanian Labor is calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry to be established to look at key concerns including costs for industry, wages and training and work pathways for the future and also the prescribed numbers of apprentices and trainees attached to government projects.