MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday 9th May 2018

Budget reveals Turnbull Government failed TAFEs and wrongly believes it can cut its way out of crisis

Treasurer Morrison’s Budget reveals the Turnbull Government knows it’s failing to fix Australia’s worsening skills shortage, but it will gut the training sector by a further $270 million anyway.

The number of Australians learning a skill or trade has dropped by 37% since the Liberal Government came to power and now a delusional Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his arithmetically illiterate Treasurer Scott Morrison think the best way to stop the bleeding is to cut deeper into our TAFEs.

Electrical Trades Union of Australia National Secretary Allen Hicks said gouging further into our skills education sector confirms Turnbull and the Liberal Party have no plan for declining apprentice numbers and nothing but contempt for young people learning trades.

“Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison foolishly think slashing another $270 million from a sector on the verge of crisis is going to turn things around,” Mr Hicks said.

“Our TAFEs have had their funding drastically cut for another year and young Australians are being shut out of opportunity.

“Morrison’s Budget is nothing but a cynical ploy to buy the votes of older Australians at the expense of young people.

“Young Australians taking up apprenticeships will be the ones building this country in years to come but they have had their future sold out from under them as Turnbull and Morrison grovel and throw cash at older, wealthy Australians,” the National Secretary said.

Mr Hicks said Morrison’s Budget would hit Australia’s skills-education sector with a double-whammy because of the Turnbull Government’s failures in securing funding for its flawed Skilling Australians Fund (SAF).

The ETU has long held that the SAF was dead on arrival. It was a hashed together strong-arm solution that Turnbull hoped would bully the states and territories into line.

“The Turnbull Government admits in the Budget it failed the skills sector but blames ‘delays in the passage of enabling legislation’ for its own incompetence,” Mr Hicks said.

“The Liberal Government’s failure to pass legislation has come at a cost of more than $100 million a year and at the expense of young people who should be learning the skills Australia desperately needs today.

“Now Turnbull will put the pressure on the states and territories to fall into line with its poorly thought-out SAF policy proposal full of funding holes.

“We know it was bad policy because the Liberals could not even convince states run by their own party to sign up.

“When it comes to a solid, well-crafted skills policy, the Turnbull Government would rather play the bully and play politics than come up with a real plan,” Mr Hicks said.

National Secretary Hicks was adamant that unless the funding and skills crisis threatening our TAFEs was addressed now, future Australians will blame the Turnbull Government for selling them out for votes.

“Australia’s future is under serious threat from this skills shortage and Malcolm Turnbull will be judged a failed leader by the young because he had the chance to do something, but buying votes from the old was more important,” Mr Hicks said.

Media enquiries:

ETU National Secretary – Allen Hicks

0419 721 037,

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