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Time for federal government to go back to the drawing board on VET funding

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 23 Apr 2015

Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon is calling on the federal government to immediately review the COAG agreement on vocational education and training funding that has seen hundreds of millions of dollars flow to private, for-profit providers.

"Yesterday the NSW Coalition government expressed its scepticism towards the current model of funding contestability, joining a raft of state governments across Australia in criticising the current approach," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Meanwhile the federal Coalition government is sticking to the current national agreement that requires states make funding available to both public and private, for-profit education providers.

"It's this federal agreement that allowed private, for-profit companies like Vocation to pocket tens of millions in government subsidies while delivering courses of sub-standard quality.

"Nearly 5,000 former Vocation students have had their qualifications recalled as a result of investigations by the regulator.

"Even the NSW Coalition government is beginning to understand that slashing TAFE funding in order to deliver subsidies to the private sector is a recipe for disaster.

"However this issue should not be left up to individual state governments. The Greens are calling for a federally driven re-think of the VET funding system to see TAFE prioritised and subsidies to private providers wound back," Senator Rhiannon said.

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