Thursday, 18 June 2020
Matters of Public Importance
I rise to talk about this MPI because it is a very important matter. I want to pose this question: what does the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia have in common with the member for Nicholls, the member for Swan, the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians—who is also the Minister for Sport and Youth—the member for Fairfax and me? We've all done trades. How many of those opposite have a trade? One or maybe two? The Labor Party used to be the party for the worker. Now they are all university educated and/or are union activists, so they are a very, very far cry from the Labor Party of days gone by. And it's really sad to sit here and listen to them talk about things. Those opposite believe that, if you say an untruth long enough and often enough, it becomes a fact, and that's very sad.
We all know that the Commonwealth government is not responsible for funding TAFE colleges. That is the purview of the states and territories. If you have a problem with the funding of TAFE colleges, talk to your state governments. But, notwithstanding the fact that TAFE colleges are fully administered by states and territories, the federal government does provide some $1.5 billion in funding every year to help with vocational education and training, which includes TAFEs.
I was TAFE educated; I went to the Holmesglen Institute of TAFE at Chadstone in Victoria. In the Higgins electorate, there is a great TAFE college. I'm a big believer in TAFE colleges. They do a great job, as did mine when I did my training. But there is a real problem with funding when it comes to TAFE, and that is that there is no accountability for the $1.5 billion that the federal government gives to the states. That's something that the Prime Minister alluded to in his recent speech to the Press Club the other day. There needs to be a shift in how we fund the vocational education and training sector.
Those opposite keep talking about cuts. For all of that talk, I want to say to those listening to this that there have been no cuts to TAFE by the federal government. There have been no cuts to universities by the federal government. I want to talk about university funding. University funding is at a record high. Commonwealth government expenditure, estimated to be more than $18 billion in 2020, will be increasing to $19 billion in 2023. The Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia has got an engineering degree; I've only got a law degree. Is that an increase or a decrease?