The State Liberals have again criticised the Government for its mishandling of TAFE and the training sector, today highlighting data from the Auditor-General’s Report showing tens of millions of dollars spent on Targeted Voluntary Separation Packages (TVSPs) between 2012 and 2017.
This is despite the fact there are still examples of TAFE lecturers paid to deliver courses with no students, and students marked as passed despite having withdrawn from their courses.
The Auditor-General’s report identifies that “583 TVSPs have been paid to TAFE SA staff over the last five years. In that time 191 new staff joined as a result of restructures…”
“Throughout this TAFE fiasco, the Weatherill Labor Government has displayed a callous indifference to the needs of the students wanting to set themselves up for their career and the needs of business who need a skilled workforce. These figures show that the Government has also had a callous indifference to the use of taxpayers’ money over an extended period of time,” said Shadow Minister for Education John Gardner.
“These examples of mismanagement within TAFE come on the back of revelations in recent weeks that a lecturer at the Barossa TAFE campus was unable to teach a class for a year because there were no students to teach. The Auditor-General’s Report also highlighted 45 students who were awarded pass grades despite having withdrawn from the subjects in question.
“The Government has been using well remunerated TAFE board positions as rewards for Labor mates and union hacks for years, and a succession of Labor Training Ministers have been derelict in their duty to manage this portfolio – and TAFE in particular.
“The Board has been happy to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on ‘performance bonuses’ for senior management, and tens of millions of dollars on TVSPs – but they clearly took their eye off the ball when it came to the most critical thing: delivering quality training courses leading to job outcomes.
“Meanwhile, Labor’s decision to de-fund the private training sector has meant that TAFE has a near-monopoly position with more than 80 per cent of South Australia’s subsidised training places. When TAFE failed to pass its ASQA quality review, that didn’t just impact on TAFE – it damaged the reputation of the entire training sector in South Australia.
“At a time when we need to be encouraging more young people to consider vocational training or an apprenticeship, rather than going to uni, Labor has put a wrecking ball through the entire sector.
“Minister Close may be unwilling to resign, and Premier Weatherill may be unwilling to sack her, but the people of South Australia are rightly outraged by the Government’s callous indifference and utter failure in this area.”