Release type: Transcript


Transcript - additional fee-free TAFE places for SA


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


Lousie Miller-Frost, Federal Member for Boothby 

It's really exciting to be here for this announcement. We have had such a success with the Free-Free TAFE. The positions that we had opened up have been massively oversubscribed by a whole range of people who just want to try something and that financial barrier was too much for them. 

People who are looking at changing careers or older people looking at getting back into the workplace, where that little bit of financial barrier was enough to actually stop them being able to take that risk, take that chance and find out what they want to do with themselves.  We've got a few people who want to speak today so I'll hand over Catherine, thank you.

Catherine Hutchesson State Member for Waite  

And what a beautiful day to be here at the Urrbrae Campus. This is really close to my home and TAFE is really close to my heart. 

I myself went to William Angliss and also Regency Park as a chef. My son started horticulture here and he's also studied carpentry and cabinet making. TAFE is such an important offering to students, you don't always have to go to university, there are so many skills that we need to be filled at the moment and the opportunity now with these Fee-Free places is really going to make a difference to people within my electorate and my community who thought maybe they wanted to try something different. 

We just spoke to Fiona, who had been in corporate for such a long time and now she's decided to take on horticulture and set up a business to be able to support older people and help them with their garden. So, there are so many opportunities, and I'm really happy to be here today to be able to share in this announcement. 

Brendan O'Connor, Federal Minister for Skills and Training  

It's great to be here and this is really an opportunity for us to announce an agreement struck between the Albanese Government and South Australian Government in order to ensure we continue to roll out Fee Free TAFE and VET places across the country. 

The facts are that at the Jobs and Skills Summit last year, one of the first decisions of that summit was to announce 180,000 Fee Free TAFE and VET places for the country. Now, I'm happy to say that we've managed to hit that target earlier than we expected and exceeded it. 

There are now over 215,000 Australians enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE and VET places for this year alone. That's removing cost barriers to ensure people will access courses that will provide skills that are in demand today and tomorrow. The focus on Fee-Free TAFE and VET places is to make sure we supply the skills needed for our businesses, for our workforce and for our economy. And because of the success of that initiative and because it has exceeded expectations and really delivered to the country. I'm happy today to be announcing a further 15,000 places for South Australia, it's something that Minister Boyer and I have negotiated, and I'd like to thank him and his office and department for working with my office and department to make sure we get this right. 

This is about making sure that we provide the skills that are needed in our economy. Upon election, the Albanese Government confronted a skills shortage that was as broad as it was deep. If you look at the occupational shortage list, it grew in one year from 153 occupations to 286 occupations almost doubling before we came to office. So, there was a massive skills deficit and there still are massive skill challenges that need attending to. 

Nine out of every 10 jobs come from post-secondary school qualifications, half of those come from the VET sector, with TAFE, delivering most of those. So, we have a need to ensure that we supply the skills for our economy and for our workforce. That's what this is about today, building on the success of this year, from 2024, 15,000 further Fee-Free TAFE and VET places. 

It's a great opportunity for South Australians to enrol in areas of demand, so that they can do meaningful work, that the businesses who are crying out for skills can find workers with the requisite skills and that the economy grows as a result. This is a win-win for South Australians and for the country. Happy to be here today.

Blair Boyer, South Australian Minister for Education, Training and Skills  

Thank you, Mr. O'Connor. Can I also begin by thanking the Federal Minister for today's announcement and the fantastic way that he has worked with us as a state. I don't think there is a Minister in the Federal Government who has been to Adelaide and South Australia more than Brendan has. In the first fifteen months I think it's five times that I have had an event of a visit with Brendan which is fantastic and within six months of him coming into government we had a one-year, National Skills Agreement signed which delivered Fee Free. 

I know because of the time he has spent here in South Australia, that he understands the South Australian context and the projects that we have here that we need our next National Skills Agreement to prioritise, such as AUKUS and universal three-year-old preschool, and hydrogen as well. So today, it’s really pleasing to be here announcing 15,000 more Fee-Free TAFE places for South Australia in a whole range of different areas.