Tuesday 19 June was National TAFE Day - what a shame that the government is continuing its ideological attack on education.
Read the full speech below.
Isn't it great to see a group of school children in our gallery right here, right now? Of course, when you look at them, you can't help but think about the sort of future that they're going to face, a future in which they will need skills and training in order to be able to get the jobs that will exist in that future. But today, on National TAFE Day, we should also be reflecting on the $3 billion in cuts to vocational education and training that this government has made since they have been in. We should be reflecting on the fact that there are 140,000 fewer apprenticeships in this country than there were when this government got in. In my electorate, there has been a drop of 40 per cent in the number of apprenticeships and traineeships that have been undertaken across the period that the coalition have been in.
The government's cuts to vocational education are bad for young people. They're also bad for people already in the workforce who'll want to retrain and reskill in the future as more and more change happens in our economy. There have to be genuine opportunities for lifelong learning, training and redevelopment in this country. Cutting vocational education is the opposite of what the Commonwealth should be doing. Labor will support vocational education. Labor will support properly funding TAFE. Labor will support properly fixing up the equipment available to people in vocational education. We want to support opportunities for apprenticeships. We want to support opportunities for older workers to retrain so that they can also have the skills they need for the jobs of the future. National TAFE Day is a great opportunity to recognise the importance of TAFE.