Labor strikes against Tafe hikes

ECU student Tim Neal, Fiana Bennett (senior advisor to Senator Sue Lines) and Fran Logan (Labor training spokesperson). d413670
ECU student Tim Neal, Fiana Bennett (senior advisor to Senator Sue Lines) and Fran Logan (Labor training spokesperson). d413670

Some course fees, including those for enrolled nursing and aged care, will rise by several hundred per cent this year as the Government rolls out Future Skills WA, part of training reforms happening on a national scale.

Fran Logan, opposition spokesman for Training and Workforce Development, was out at the Carlisle Polytechnic West campus last week where people have been collecting petition signatures which can also be found at markmc gowan.com.au

‘Tafe is the lifeblood of our skills base and the service sector and the State Government is creating a disincentive to these careers,’ he said.

‘These dramatic fee increases will put Tafe courses out of reach for many young Western Australians and will lead to long-term skill shortages in areas like disability and aged care, nursing and technical trades.’

Southern River resident Ademola Ologundo was at the Carlisle campus enrolment day and said his wife works two jobs to support his two kids and so he could study.

‘It is quite embarrassing to have to rely on my wife to make all the money,’ he said. ‘It will make it even harder now that we have to pay more.’

Training and Workforce Development Minister Kim Hames, who has taken over the portfolio from Terry Redman, said since course fees were introduced in the 1990s they had fallen to 8 per cent of the total cost of training, with State governments subsidising the rest.

‘Fees have not kept pace with increases in the cost of training,’ he said.

He said training was still going to be subsidised heavily, that Future Skills WA aimed to encourage students into priority qualifications for in-demand jobs and the Government would keep increases for these qualifications as low as possible.

‘Student revenue projections from Future Skills WA are still projected to increase over the forward estimates,’ he said.