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Vic inquiry based on incorrect information.

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Media Release

Vic inquiry based on incorrect information 25 July 2005

Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, the Hon Gary Hardgrave, today questioned the motivation behind the recently announced inquiry into the current Victorian training system.

Mr Hardgrave said the reasons given for the inquiry by the Victorian Minister for Education and Training were based on incorrect information.

“In announcing this inquiry, Minister Kosky is blatantly attempting to shift the blame for the problems in the Victorian state training system,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“Let me make one thing clear - the Australian Government does not directly fund TAFE, nor does it manage a single TAFE in any State or Territory.

“The Victorian State Budget fails to recognise the investment by the Australian Government of direct funding to States and Territories. It simply re-badges Commonwealth funding as its own.

“The Victorian Government has managed to borrow from their federal Labor counterparts with their simplistic attack on the Australian Government’s Australian Technical Colleges and the Tools for Your Trade initiative. The Federal Government has introduced a range of measures, of which these are only two and unlike the ALP, our initiatives are comprehensive and geared to defray up front costs to attract and keep people in apprenticeships. We also use existing incentives and subsidies to support and encourage those in the system to complete their training.

“The Australian Government’s total investment in vocational and technical education has increased dramatically to record levels as announced in this year’s Federal Budget. From 1995-96 to 2002-03, total federal funding rose by 69% while in the same period, the States and Territories reported total recurrent funding rose only 39%.

“It would appear the Victorian Government’s rationale for instigating this inquiry is a facile attempt to shift blame for, and to cover-up, their own mismanagement as evidenced by the recent Auditor-General’s report which raised issues around management practices and financial viability of TAFE institutes in Victoria,” Mr Hardgrave said.

Media Contact: Suzanne Ferguson 0402 896 100