With the surprise result of the recent federal election placing Australia back in the hands of the Coalition, many people involved in the VET sector are questioning what this will mean for them.
In the leadup to the election, there was very little difference between what the LNP and Labor were offering by way of school funding, with the exception of the ALP’s popular promise to provide early childhood care.
Pre-election, the Coalition has based their dialogue on the Joyce Review, which addressed concerns that the VET sector lacked coordination at a national level, and its funding models lacked clarity. The quality of the sector’s training providers also raised alarm bells, indicating that employers were losing confidence in the VET system and student numbers were decreasing as a result.
Released shortly before the election was announced, the LNP’s alignment with this report was seen as a commitment to improve the VET sector.
Since Saturday, Universities Australia Chair, Deborah Terry, declared that focus must continue to be on opportunities for all Australians, indicating that without those opportunities, our economy will be less competitive. From a vocational perspective, CEO of Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia, Troy Williams told media outlets his organisation was “comfortable with the reelected government’s approach to the vocational education and training sector.” Meanwhile, Andrew Norton from the Grattan Institute voiced his concerns around reducing international student numbers, which along with the current funding freeze could lead to job losses and a reduction in universities’ activities.
With so much uncertainty for the sector at this early stage, it appears that a "wait and see” mentality will need to be adopted until further policies are revealed when government forms next month.