Posted on 03. Apr, 2012 in News

The Baillieu Government’s decision to cut support for Industry Training Advisory Boards (ITABs) shows it has no commitment to providing Victorians the skills they need to get a job, Shadow Higher Education and Skills Minister Steve Herbert said today.

The 16 ITABs are industry bodies that have expertise in training needs and provide advice to government and industry on issues such as skills shortages facing the training system.

“This latest ad hoc announcement adds to the growing number of erratic funding decisions by the Government, which are undermining skills development in Victoria,” said Mr Herbert.

“It doesn’t make sense that the Baillieu Government would want to lock out the experts from the discussion on the direction of our training system.

“Cutting ITABs is a short-sighted decision and government, the Victorian Skills Commission and business will no longer receive expert advice on the key issues facing a variety of sectors.

“Skills Minister Peter Hall should be doing the responsible thing and ensuring that he is well advised on these matters, not locking out key players.

“This move will mean Victoria is the only state or territory in Australia, apart from Tasmania that does not have an industry skills advisory body.”

The network of ITABs includes key Victorian industry areas of building, food, manufacturing, water, textiles, and racing.

Mr Herbert said he was concerned by the Minister’s statement that industries could choose to retain their existing ITABs through their own funding.

“This will place an inappropriate cost burden on industry at a time when it can least afford it,” he said.

“The Baillieu Government gave industry no time to analyse a Boston Consulting report into industry participation before releasing its decision to scrap ITABs.

“This decision could result in 80 jobs losses, which comes on top of the Baillieu Government $481 million cuts from the education budget.

“We know that up to 300 jobs have been slashed across the TAFE system in the wake of cuts announced in October. These cuts included reducing the rate of government-subsidy for a number of courses and increasing apprentice fees.

“In the current challenging economic climate, where youth unemployment in Victoria is at 23.1 per cent, the Baillieu Government should be listening and supporting industry to improve skills training.”


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