Tasmania Shadow Minister for Education Michael Ferguson
Skills Farce Continues
Victor P Taffa
The Labor-Green Government’s continued fiddling with the training system shows that after 14 years of failed experiments they have learned nothing, Shadow Minister for Education Michael Ferguson said.
“Minutes from the latest meeting of the Skills Tasmania board reveal that the Minister’s shoot first and ask questions later approach is putting the essential role of Tasmanian industry in the skills training system at massive risk. His decision to sack the entire board and amalgamate the functions of Skills Tasmania into the Education Department has been made without even considering industry.”
“The Minister requested the Board to provide him advice on how, under the new arrangement, industry could continue to be engaged, providing advice on skills development needs. This matter is being addressed immediately.”*
“The response to the Simmons review of VET in Tasmania made it clear that the Government had accepted the strong advice to retain Skills Tasmania for its industry-led role in policy development, planning, funding training and monitoring performance. Now, unexpectedly Mr. McKim has turned that promise on its head and is now asking the board he intends to sack for advice on how to replace their expertise.” Mr. Ferguson said.
“The TCCI have raised serious questions over how Skills Tasmania can continue to be accountable to industry and its ability to operate as an independent purchaser of training. It argues that “industry would have greater confidence in Skills Tasmania as the purchaser of training if it remained an independent statutory authority, accountable to an industry board.”**
“The skills training system has been the subject of the disastrous Tasmania Tomorrow education experiment. Since then, Minister Lin Thorp and Nick McKim have tinkered around the edges, have wasted valuable time and entrenched duplicated management structures.”
“The Tasmanian Liberals have proudly led the push to reunify our state training providers into a rebuilt TAFE and the equally important need for policies which ensure that precious taxpayer’s dollars are used to fund the right mix of training outcomes that are actually needed in the Tasmanian labour market. We believe that funded training should lead to a job, or the creation of a small business.” Mr. Ferguson said.
* Skills Tasmania Board Meeting 24 August 2012 – Communiqué
** Recommendation 29, http://www.education.tas.gov.au/py10/vetreform/Government-Response.pdf