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Cuts to Labor Market program: yet no growth funds for TAFE.

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Cuts To Labor Market Programs -Yet No Growth Funds For TAFE Kim Carr - Parliamentary Secretary for Education

Media Statement - 23 November 2000

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Cuts to labour market programs under this Government have amounted to $1.8 billion since 1996, and yet the Government cannot find the money to fund growth in New Apprenticeships and vocational education.

This has come to light as a result of questioning by Senator Kim Carr in a Senate Estimates hearing today. Senator Carr is Labor's Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate.

In 1996, Dr Kemp made a statement, "Training for real jobs" in which he stated that New Apprenticeships were to replace previous labour market programs.

"Yet, as Dr Kemp also states (in a media release dated 9 May 2000), New Apprenticeships are funded at $2 billion over four years from 2000-2001", Senator Carr said. "This is only $500 million a year."

Senator Carr said that the TAFE system was being starved to death by the Commonwealth, while the cuts to labour market programs have not resulted in growth of similar magnitude in vocational education and training.

"Five years of the so-called 'growth through efficiencies' policy, which provided no real increases in a climate of rapid growth in student numbers, has seriously undermined the system, and the quality of education it can provide," he said.

"And, on top of this, the Government has underspent on employer subsidies for vocational education and training by $125 million in 1999-2000," said Senator Carr.

"If the Government's intention was to replace the previous labour market programs by New Apprenticeships, then we are entitled to expect a similar level of funding commitment in this area as was previously available for the other programs."

"Vocational education and training has been robbed of billions of dollars that might have provided Australia with a TAFE system to rival the best in the world.

"As it is, the Senate Inquiry into VET has found a system in crisis. We have sold our young people short with Dr Kemp's mean and flawed policy approach," he said.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.