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TAFE pulls out of federal inquiry

Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills Gail Gago must explain what role she played in the decision by TAFE SA to cancel its scheduled appearance at the Inquiry into the role of the Technical and Further Education system and its operation, which is taking evidence in Adelaide today.

The State Liberals understand that TAFE SA had agreed to attend the inquiry but at the last minute has back flipped and pulled out of today’s scheduled appearance before the House of Representatives inquiry.

“The inquiry was established in response to concerns that policy and funding changes, particularly by State Governments, were jeopardising TAFE’s future viability,” said Shadow Minister for Employment, Skills and Training David Pisoni.

“TAFE’s in other states having either appeared before the inquiry or having agreed to appear before it.

“There is no valid reason why TAFE SA would not appear before a committee established by the Federal Parliament,” said Mr Pisoni.

After agreeing that TAFE SA Chief Executive Jeff Gunningham would appear before this morning’s inquiry an email was sent to the committee secretary from TAFE SA stating….

We recently received a copy of the South Australian Government’s submission to the Inquiry. Consequently, the TAFE SA Board Chair and Chief Executive now believe it is unnecessary to provide evidence at the hearing on 12 June at Regency campus

“TAFE SA must explain why it won’t be detailing how State Government cuts to funding is impacting on the provision of training opportunities for young South Australians,” said Mr Pisoni.

“Did the Minister’s or the Premiers office intervene? If so why?

“State Labor has been quick to criticise the Federal Government’s recent budget but are shy about defending their own substantial cuts to skills training and the current round of TAFE redundancies.

“South Australian apprentice and trainee completions were the worst performing in Australia in the December quarter and commencements were the state’s lowest in a decade.

“Minister Gago is struggling in her new role and appears more focused on avoiding scrutiny than improving opportunities for South Australian job seekers.”