Federal Election Watch: Bill Shorten Budget-in-Reply Speech on TAFE

In his Budget-in-Reply speech on Thursday, 4 April, the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten made a number of promises about TAFE. Below are selections from his speech (which you can watch online here). The Guardian Australia reports that, “The package builds on Shorten’s promise last year to waive fees for 100,000 TAFE students and doubles the investment in campuses from $100m to $200m.”

Selections from the speech follow

Investing in the future always begins with education.

Nine out of ten new jobs created in the next four years will require either a university degree or a TAFE qualification.

We’ll uncap university places, opening the doors of higher education to an additional 200,000 Australians.

And when it comes to vocational education, Labor is backing public TAFE all the way.

I’ve been fortunate to have visited about 30 TAFEs around Australia since the last election.

The teachers and students are inspirational.

So tonight I’m pleased to announce that we are going to double the size of our Rebuilding TAFE fund – up to $200 million to renovate campuses in regional and outer-suburban Australia.

This will mean new facilities for training nurses in Caboolture and Devonport.

  • New workshops in Midland and Bellevue, to make sure the METRONET train carriages work goes to apprentices.
  • A new construction centre for tradies in Chadstone and Frankston.

And so much more.

Labor will also pay the upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE places to get more Australians training in high-priority courses.

And tonight I am proud to announce that 20,000 of these places will be allocated to a new generation of aged care workers and paid carers for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Every time we invest Commonwealth dollars in infrastructure projects, we’ll make the rule that 1 in 10 people employed must be an Australian apprentice.

The bad news is that over the last six years under the Liberals, apprenticeships have fallen by 150,000. The good news is because of our vision: in infrastructure, housing construction, the NDIS, TAFE and training, early childhood education, energy and the digital economy, a Labor Government can repair the damage done.

Tonight, I say we will help train 150,000 apprentices for the jobs of the future. We will provide additional support for businesses which take them on – both young people and mature age workers looking to re-train and to learn new skills.

And we’ll create an Apprentice Advocate – because the tragic death of an 18 year old apprentice on the Macquarie Park site last week, reminds us that we’ve got to protect our apprentices and they have the same right to come home safe as everybody else.

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