Labor says it will fund up to 20,000 additional university seats during 2022 and 2023 and provide access to 465,000 free Tafe seats in nominated areas with a lack of skills if Anthony Albanese wins the next federal election.
The new skills and commitments for higher education, worth 1.2 billion. USD, will be unveiled by the Labor leader at a campaign-style meeting in Sydney on Sunday. The Tafe initiative will cost $ 621m compared to future estimates, and the university’s commitment will cost $ 481.7m.
As the federal parliament is now finished for the year and the election threatens in the first half of next year, Labor has gone into campaign mode.
Sunday’s competence package is Labor’s second major election policy announcement in two days. Labor unveiled its new climate change policy on Friday, which includes a 2030 emission reduction target of 43% and a commitment to increase the share of renewable energy in the national electricity market to 82%.
Labor says providing free Tafe places in targeted areas will help rebuild the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, such as hospitality and tourism, as well as meet current and future needs in the care economy, including childcare, aged care jobs, disability care, nursing and municipal services.
The funding will provide more than 465,000 free Tafe seats, including 45,000 new seats. The package also includes a technology fund of DKK 50 million. USD for the improvement of IT facilities, workshops, laboratories and telecommunications health simulators.
Labor will aim to prioritize the new funding for universities that are able to offer additional courses in national priority areas, such as clean energy, advanced production, health and education, or where there is a shortage of qualifications.
The opposition says funding for additional university places will help the higher education sector recover from the pandemic.
The universities did not have access to the wage subsidy job holder, and the closure of the border meant that the institutions lost income from international students. Universities are estimated to have lost a total of 35,000 employees during the pandemic after government decisions effectively excluded them from the wage subsidy scheme.
Political documents circulating ahead of Sunday’s demonstration say universities will receive funding over six years from 2021-22 for the additional 20,000 incoming campuses in 2022 and 2023 in national priority areas.
The additional funding will be allocated to universities based on the ability of the institutions to offer additional places in areas of national priority and lack of qualifications; their programs to recruit under-represented groups “such as those who are the first in their family to go to university, and people in regional, remote and outer suburbs, and First Nations people”; and student demand.
In a statement circulating ahead of the demonstration, Albanese said the skills and higher education program would address some of the cuts to vocational training and apprenticeships.
“Today, we have 85,000 fewer apprenticeships and internships compared to 2013,” the Labor leader said. “At the same time, it’s getting harder and more expensive to go to university.”
Albanese said the proportion of applicants being offered a place at the university “has fallen every year since the Liberal government cut back on university funding – this year the bid rate fell to its lowest level in years”.
“This has happened in light of the stark economic reality that nine out of 10 jobs in the future will require a vocational qualification or a university degree.”
Albanese said an intervention was necessary because one in four companies experienced a shortage of skills and “at the same time there are two million Australians who are either looking for a job or want to work more hours”.
Labor’s announcement follows a separate higher education commitment from the Morrison government.
Under the proposal, unveiled by the Prime Minister during a speech to business leaders late last month, four “pioneering” universities would receive a funding boost of more than $ 200 million to research centers to promote Australian manufacturing.