Release type: Joint Media Release


Australian and SA Governments sign landmark skills agreement


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training
The Hon Blair Boyer MP
South Australian Minister for Education, Training & Skills

The Australian and South Australian Governments have signed a landmark 12-month Skills Agreement to address the current skills shortage and deliver Fee-Free TAFE and more vocational education places for South Australians.

The Agreement will inject more than $65 million into the South Australian skills and training sector.

This will provide immediate support through approximately 12,500 Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education and training (VET) places in 2023.

Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education will better match training with skills shortages identified through the skills priority list, driving enrolments in key sectors.
Fee-Free TAFE and more VET places in South Australia come at a crucial time as the State works to strengthen its trade and construction workforce, offering free access to a range of trade and construction qualifications, including the Certificate IV in Building and Construction and the Diploma of Surveying.

The course list will see approximately 4,000 fee-free places in the care sector, 3,000 places in hospitality and tourism,  2,500 places in construction, 1,000 places each in technology/digital and agriculture, and 500 places in sovereign capability including manufacturing. There will also be a range of places in education, foundation skills and creative industries.

The Agreement will increase opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups, including First Nations Australians, young people (17-24), people out of work or receiving income support, unpaid carers, women facing economic insecurity, women undertaking study in non-traditional fields, people with disability and certain categories of visa holders.

The 12-month Skills Agreement confirms TAFE’s central role in the VET sector, increases opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups and addressing skills gaps in the economy.

TAFE SA will deliver approximately 10,500 of the training places in South Australia, with around 2,000 places delivered by non-TAFE providers to ensure opportunities are available to all interested students.

The Agreement also includes an Australian Government commitment of $0.93 million for essential VET data infrastructure reform in South Australia, and $50 million to modernise TAFE campuses and training facilities nationally.

All Governments have also agreed to a vision and guiding principles for longer-term VET reform to commence in 2024.

Quotes Attributable to Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training

The Albanese Government recognises the urgency of the skills crisis facing the nation, and the challenges particular to South Australia, which is why this Agreement is so important.  

To provide greater opportunity for South Australians to have secure and rewarding employment we must be able to skill and reskill our workforce.
Whether it’s a need to build our sovereign capability in manufacturing, construction, agriculture, hospitality and tourism, technology, or in the care sector, we need to deliver these skills at a time of acute skills shortages.

I’m thrilled to make this joint investment with South Australia to expand opportunities to South Australians.

Quotes Attributable to Blair Boyer, South Australian Minister for Education, Training and Skills

The Malinauskas Labor Government is proud to be working with the Commonwealth to deliver Fee-Free TAFE in South Australia from next year. 

We promised South Australians that we would rebuild TAFE and this Agreement is an important step in backing TAFE SA.

Fee-Free TAFE will play a key role in addressing the skills shortages we face and open doors for South Australians who otherwise would be unable to afford training.

Fee-free TAFE will be a gamechanger for South Australians seeking to get the skills they need for a rewarding career – and this investment in skills is one of the most significant in our State’s history.