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South Australia rejects $272.3 million for training.

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Media Release


18 December, 2003 MIN 572/03

Today Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, South Australia’s Minister for Employment and Training, attacked the Howard Government’s offer for the next Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) Agreement of $3.6 billion over three years which would create at least 71,000 places nationally.

Under this proposed Agreement, South Australia will receive $272.3 million, including $16.3 million over and above current funding levels.

The offer represents a 2.5% increase in real terms in Australian Government funding for training places under the next Australian National Training Authority Agreement. By contrast, South Australia has only been asked to increase its funding by 1.5%.

If accepted by the States and Territories, the Agreement would provide a 4% real increase in funding for training nationally, which would meet the growth forecast by Access Economics of 2.9% over the life of the next three year Agreement.

The Australian Government’s offer was made to South Australia on 13 May this year. Minister Lomax-Smith has had more than seven months to accept the offer.

The State and Territories again failed to move on the Australian Government’s $3.6 billion offer at the last meeting of all State and Territory Ministers of Training in Queensland on 21 November. At this meeting I flagged a process by which indexation on growth money, as well as funding available under the Australian Government’s Welfare Reform measures would be allocated to States and Territories which accept the Australian Government’s offer. I have asked the States and Territories again to accept the offer by Friday 19 December or this process will begin.

Under the offer, South Australia was asked to match $9.1 million in funding. South Australia has refused.

South Australians should know that this follows cuts by the SA Government to South

Australia’s training expenditure of 1.2% in its last State budget.

Under the current ANTA Agreement, South Australia received $34.9 million in matched growth funding. This ought to have contributed more than 6,444 places in the South Australian training system. Instead, over the last two years of this Agreement, South Australia has slashed 5,000 places from its system, many of them in skill shortages areas, including engineering, mining and utilities from which almost 200 places have been cut.

South Australians should also be aware that earlier this year Minister Lomax-Smith moved to make it harder for students to go to TAFE by increasing TAFE fees by up to 50%. This move will cost South Australian students an additional $1 million in 2003-04 and $2.1 million in every year thereafter.

Media contact: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095