House debates

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Matters of Public Importance

Tertiary Education

3:42 pm

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party, Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education) Share this | Hansard source

What can one say about this matter of public importance except it's the same old Labor, same old tired talking points and same old hypocrisy. We, on this side of the House, can remember the salad days of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years, when Labor ripped $1.2 billion out of apprenticeship incentives, oversaw the biggest fall in apprenticeship numbers in history and allowed thousands of vulnerable students to be saddled with debts for shonky VET FEE-HELP loans. We, on this side of the House, remember those days and the people of Australia remember them as well. They haven't forgotten.

We remember when their woeful policies plundered billions of taxpayers' dollars out of the skills and higher education sectors. We remember it. And today they have the audacity to come into this House and lecture us on VET and higher education? They left behind a generation of young Australians. Their record on this is absolutely woeful. In fact, under this government there have been no cuts to the VET sector. We know that TAFEs are administered by the states and territories. In fact, the coalition has ensured that the Commonwealth funding to states and territories has been steadily increasing—from $1.36 billion in 2011-12 to an expected $1.61 billion in 2022-23. We're also investing over $585 million over the forward estimates in response to the expert review into the vocational education and training system—that's $525 million for the Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package and $60 million to expand the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy trial.

Now, as I said, the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government was an absolute disaster. As the member for Hinkler knows, they made no less than nine cuts to employer incentives to apprentices.

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