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Coalition state governments have dismissed as an empty threat Kevin Rudd’s vow to wrest control of TAFE facilities in states that refuse to boost spending on the training institutions.
In a bid to tackle states head-on over recent cuts and restructures to the TAFE system, Mr Rudd announced at his campaign launch on Sunday he would demand states promise to increase funding above inflation.
If they refused to do so by July 1 next year, the Commonwealth would stop funding TAFEs by giving the money to the states and instead fund the institutions directly.
And if they continued to frustrate the aim of boosting funding in real terms, the Commonwealth would set up its own vocational training system that would ”rival the great polytechnics of France and Germany”.
His threats come in response to cuts by states to the TAFE system, including about $100 million slashed in Victoria, 880 staff cut in NSW and the number of facilities in Queensland reduced from 13 to six or seven.
”We want every dollar we invest in TAFE to make a real difference – this can’t happen if, for every dollar we put in, the state governments take away,” Mr Rudd said in a statement.
A Victorian government spokeswoman said the state had provided a record $1.2 billion a year for training subsidies in the 2012-13 budget. Mr Rudd’s proposal would ”just waste more money on bureaucracy rather than services”.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman used Twitter to dismiss the threat as ”same old Kevin”. ”Rudd said he was going to take over health and fix it … but did nothing. Now he’s talking about taking over TAFE,” Mr Newman tweeted.
Mr Rudd’s announcement was welcomed by the Australian Education Union and the peak body TAFE Directors Australia.
The NSW government did not respond to requests for comment.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.