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Labor plays catch-up on training: but not a word on skyrocketing State TAFE fees.

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7 July, 2003 MIN401/03

The ALP’s training announcement today signals a welcome, but belated and surprising interest in issues of training.

Labor’s education spokesperson Jenny Macklin and training spokesperson Anthony Albanese have considered training so unimportant they have asked me one question each in parliament thus far. Simon Crean has never raised training.

Labor has announced today 5000 extra TAFE places a year for four years in a sector catering for 1.3 million Australians.

This is about a quarter of the places the Commonwealth is in the process of creating.

Under the Commonwealth’s offer for the 2004 - 06 ANTA agreement, which is currently being considered by the States and Territories, at least 71,000 new TAFE places will be created.

Labor claims it will reduce unmet demand in TAFE - stating 15,000 school leavers missed out on a place in TAFE last year. (The actual figure was 9,000).

We will continue to work hard to ensure opportunities for all young people, however Labor must be judged on its record not its rhetoric.

Under Labor policies for TAFE, unmet demand blew out to more than 60,000 in 1995.

Youth unemployment under Labor was running at 34%.

Labor cannot claim to support training or TAFE students while ever Simon Crean, Jenny Macklin and Anthony Albanese are too timid to defend the rights of TAFE students against attacks from their State Labor colleagues.

Federal Labor has remained silent while the NSW and SA Governments have slugged students with TAFE fee increases of 300% and 50% respectively in this year’s budgets. They have similarly had nothing to say about Victoria’s introduction of full-fee-paying degrees in TAFE of up to $12,000, with no access to student loans.

Similarly, they have had nothing to say about the States’ moves to make taking on apprentices harder for business. In NSW employers will have to pay $47 million extra a year in workers compensation premiums, and in Victoria, employers will pay up to $210 million more in payroll tax.

Simon Crean, Jenny Macklin and Anthony Albanese stand condemned for refusing today to raise any objection to these regressive State TAFE measures.

Media contact:

Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095