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Vocational Education and Training Funding Amendment Bill 1994



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House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Employment, Education and Training

Commencement: Royal Assent

Purpose

The major amendments proposed by this Bill will:

* set the level of Commonwealth vocational education and training funding for 1994-1996; and

* provide for payments to the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) for additional trainees under the Australian Traineeship System (ATS) and Career Start Traineeships (CST).

Background

The Commonwealth provides grants to the States and Territories for the provision and support of vocational education and training, primarily in the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system. Prior to 1 January 1994, grants to the States and Territories were provided in accordance with the provisions of the States Grants (TAFE Assistance) Act 1989. These grants contributed to general operating costs (recurrent expenditure grants) and infrastructure (capital expenditure grants). Table 1, below, shows the allocations for recurrent expenditure grants and capital grants for calendar years 1992 and 1993, and the total combined allocation under the Vocational Education and Training Funding Act 1992 for 1994-1996.

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Table 1: Commonwealth Grants to States and Territories for Vocational Education and Training, 1992- 96 1

1992

$million 1993

$million 1994

$million 1995

$million 1996

$million Recurrent Support 261.3 344.7 not applicable not applicable not applicable Infrastructure 219.0 207.5 not applicable not applicable not applicable Total 480.3 552.2 673.612 768.469 858.209

From 1 January 1994, the funding arrangements under the States Grants (TAFE Assistance) Act 1989 were replaced by funding arrangements under the Vocational Education and Training Funding Act 1992. Under the new arrangements, a single pool of funds comprising the previously separate recurrent expenditure grants and capital expenditure grants is passed to the ANTA for allocation among the States and Territories.

The Australian National Training Authority Act 1992 gave effect to an agreement (the Agreement), announced by the Prime Minister on 21 July 1992, between the Commonwealth, State and Territories for the establishment of ANTA. The objectives of the Agreement include:

* the establishment of a national vocational education and training system;

* closer interaction between industry and vocational education and training providers;

* an effective training market; and

* improved cross- sectoral links.

The key elements of the Agreement, the text of which is set out in the Australian National Training Authority Act 1992, relate to the roles and responsibilities of ANTA, the Ministerial Council, and funding arrangements.

The functions of ANTA include allocating and remitting funding to State and Territory training agencies on the basis of guidelines determined by the Ministerial Council, and administering any programs, agreed by the Ministerial Council as requiring national delivery, within the guidelines approved by the Ministerial Council.

ANTA comprises five members appointed for three years by the Governor- General on the nomination of the Ministerial Council. The Ministerial Council consists of one Minister from each State and Territory and the Commonwealth. On the Ministerial Council, each State and Territory has one vote and the Commonwealth two votes and a casting vote. The functions of the Ministerial Council include determining national goals, objectives and priorities for vocational education and training, and developing the principles to be applied for the allocation of funding between States and for any national programs.

Clause 4 of this Bill will insert new section 9A into the Vocational Education and Training Funding Act 1992. Proposed section 9A provides for payments to ANTA in 1995 and 1996 ($12.8 million and $22.7 million) for additional trainees under the ATS and CST. The Explanatory Memorandum states that the additional funding is part of the Government White Paper Working Nation's commitment to achieve an additional 50 000 entry level training places by 1995- 96.

The Government announced in the White Paper that:

The Government will provide funding to support an increase in the number of entry- level training places by 50 000 as at the end of 1995- 96. This will build on existing measures to support and expand the entry level training system.

These additional places will be created in training programs such as apprenticeships and traineeships, in institutional pathways and in labour market programs with a significant training component.

2

The proposed 50 000 additional places comprise the following:

* 14 000 new apprenticeship places;

* 15 000 ATS/CST traineeships;

* 1 000 Commonwealth trainees;

* 5 000 off- the- job training places;

* 5 000 new pre- vocational places; and

* 10 000 new places within current labour market programs. 3

The ATS provides long term employment and career prospects for young people, and improves the national skills base, through improvements in arrangements for non- trades employment training.

The CST's build on and enhance the existing ATS by providing a 'bridge' that enables the industrial parties to move from existing training arrangements to the Australian Vocational Certificate Training System and are a more versatile extension of the ATS, combining structured on- and off- the- job training.

Main Provisions

Clause 4 will insert new sections 9 and 9A into the Vocational Education and Training Education Funding Act 1992. Section 9 currently provides for the payments to ANTA, for allocation under the Australian National Training Authority Act 1992, of $638.960 million in 1994 and $719.741 million in 1995.

The effect of new section 9 will be to amend the amounts payable to ANTA in the following manner:

* increasing the amount payable for 1994 from $638.960 million to $673.612 million;

* increasing the amount payable for 1995 from $719.741 million to $755.711 million; and

* setting the amount payable for 1996 at $835.529 million.

Proposed section 9A provides for the payment to ANTA, for additional trainees under the ATS and CST. Payments are conditional on the Minister being satisfied there has been an increase in the number of people receiving training in a State or Territory under the ATS or CST. The amount of payments will be determined by the Minister, and the total of amounts determined is not to exceed $12.758 million in 1995 and $22.680 million in 1996.

Endnotes

1. Figures in Table 1 obtained from Department of Employment, Education and Training, Programs 1993-94, p. 62, and clause 4 of this Bill.

2. Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Employment, Education and Training Portfolio - White Paper Initiatives, 4 May 1994, p. 9.

3. ibid., p. 10.

Ian Ireland (Ph. 06 2772438)

Bills Digest Service 15 June 1994

Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Commonwealth of Australia 1994.

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1994.