Release type: Media Release


Fee-Free TAFE removing financial barriers for more Australians


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

The Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments’ Fee-Free TAFE initiative is continuing to exceed targets, removing financial barriers so more Australians can learn new skills in areas where the economy needs them most.

New figures reveal 355,557 Australians enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE across Australia during 2023, smashing the initial first-year target of 180,000.

Fee-Free TAFE – which is funded by every State and Territory, and the Commonwealth - removes financial barriers for training in areas facing significant skill shortages, with enrolments prioritised for groups excluded or under-represented in the labour market.

As of 31 December 2023, there were over: 

  • 82,400 enrolments in the Care sector   
  • 31,200 enrolments in the Technology and Digital sector 
  • 24,200 enrolments in the Construction sector
  • 19,200 enrolments in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • 14,600 enrolments in the Agriculture sector 

Most popular Fee-Free TAFE courses in 2023 included: 

  • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
  • Certificate IV in Cyber Security
  • Diploma of Nursing
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

Priority groups were strongly represented with the enrolment of 80,000 job seekers, more than 26,000 people with disability and more than 23,000 First Nations people.

62 percent of enrolments were women and students from regional and remote areas made up more than one-third of total enrolments.

More than 76,000 Australians who speak a language other than English at home also took advantage of Fee-Free TAFE.

Fee-Free TAFE provides big savings for students.

A Victorian training to be a nurse can save $15,000, while a West Australian undertaking a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care can save $3,928. Someone in South Australia doing a Diploma of Information Technology could save up to $6,231.

The Albanese Government is providing a further $414.1 million over 2024 – 2026 to States and Territories to fund the delivery of at least another 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP:

“Fee-Free TAFE has transformed the lives of students from diverse backgrounds right across the country, at the same time making sure there is a strong pipeline of workers to fill in-demand jobs."

“The initiative has helped ease cost-of-living pressures for students and is helping respond to the worst skills crisis we have experienced in 50 years."

“Fee-Free TAFE is helping Australians to acquire skills to ensure they have meaningful work, well-paid jobs, and career progression."

“And it’s delivering the skills that are vital to the future prosperity of our businesses and the economy.”

Media contact: Ben Ansell | 0488 777 170 |