Posted on 21. Mar, 2012 in News

Now that the Federal Government has outlined its boost in skills funding, the Baillieu Government must outline its plan for the sector, the Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Steve Herbert said today.

The  Government  is  yet  to  release  its response to the Essential Services Commission  (ESC) review, which makes 43 recommendations into the  vocational  education  and  training sector fee and funding structure, which could result in $230 million being cut from the sector.

Mr Herbert said after releasing the ESC report in October, the Government intended to release its response under the cover of Budget week in May in the hope of avoiding criticism.

“The Baillieu Government is trying to avoid the tough decisions regarding vocational training and we now know that it will hide its response by releasing it during the busy state budget period,” Mr Herbert said.

“This attempt to avoid scrutiny comes after the initial report was released during the Queen’s visit to Melbourne, and the Government gave the vocational training sector only two weeks to provide feedback.

“The Government then quietly slipped the subsequent Expert Panel report into the review on the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website – not the Skills Victoria website – during the new year holiday period.

“This is a Government that has hidden this issue at every conceivable moment for 6 months. It is well and truly time for Mr Baillieu to start making the tough decisions he was elected to make.”

Mr Herbert said the Government was avoiding outlining its position because the review had major ramifications for the VET sector, but Mr Baillieu had cut the industry out of the process.

“Mr Baillieu is under increasing pressure, because he is considering the review’s recommendations which would result in $230 million being cut from the sector,” he said.

“This would come at a time when the Gillard Government is placing more funding into VET to assist Victorians upskill and gain a job in new and emerging industries.

“At a time when jobs are being lost across the state, rather than investing in Victoria’s future skills needs, like the Federal Government is, Mr Baillieu is contributing to further job losses by slashing funding for TAFEs.

“Mr Baillieu needs to front up to the sector over the controversial restructure, and genuinely involve them in the process rather than avoiding scrutiny at all costs.”

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