Shortfall in training budget may lead to skills shortages

WA is facing the very real prospect of a significant shortfall in its training budget, it has been revealed during Budget Estimates.

Greens spokesperson for Training Hon Alison Xamon MLC said the Government admitted during Estimates there was continued uncertainty over the level of Federal funding WA would receive and that this creates a funding hole which the State Government will struggle to fill.

Ms Xamon said that this created the very real risk of contributing to a future skills shortage.

“Since the previous National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform expired on 30 June 2017, the replacement funding agreement, which also requires the passing of Federal legislation, has yet to be finalised,” Ms Xamon said.

“In addition to this, the focus of the new agreement may not be appropriately targeted to meet WA’s current training needs.

Ms Xamon said the previous State Government grossly under- invested in TAFE, effectively gutting the system and making it unaffordable for many as reflected in reduced enrolments.

She said the uncertainty over Federal funding and concerns over the significant shortfall further undermined WA’s vital training sector.

“The McGowan Government’s announcement that it will freeze TAFE fees is welcome, but does not go nearly far enough,” Ms Xamon said.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: we need to be re-investing in and re-building TAFE if we are to avoid future skills shortages.   

"The fact that the Federal Government is making an already struggling sector worse is unconscionable.”