Cap on uni places ‘unfair’; ‘abolish it’

The Opposition used its alternative mini-Budget on Thursday night to pledge greater access to universities and TAFE colleges.

The TAFE measure alone would cost $470 million and the university policy would require extra funding to institutions..

A Labor government would abolish caps on university places to increase the number of students by 200,000, shadow education minister Tanya Plibersek said.

“The limit on places means thousands of Australians will miss out on uni. Labor doesn’t think that’s fair, so we will abolish the cap,” she said.

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Labor is citing modelling by the Mitchell Institute it says shows the 200,000 additional students would arrive over 12 years.

“ Nine in 10 jobs created in the coming years, will need a uni or TAFE qualification,” said Ms Plibersek.

Labor also pledged to scrap upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students in a bid to boost skills training.

“Many trades face skills shortages – from carpenters to bricklayers to bakers to pastry cooks,” said shadow minister for skills Doug Cameron.

“But despite high unemployment in some areas, workers can’t learn the skills that industries are crying out for.

“TAFE is the best place for young Australians to develop these skills in the communities that need them.”

Senator Cameron said the scheme was part of Labor’s $470 million plan to boost TAFE, apprenticeships and skills for Australians.

“The Liberals’ budget cuts have left our skills and training sector in chronic decline,” he said.

“In the last five years, more than $3 billion has been cut from TAFE and training, and Australia has 140,000 fewer apprentices today than we did when the Liberals were first elected.

“TAFE courses have been cut, campuses have closed and TAFE teachers have lost their jobs.”

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