Labor has announced the panel tasked with preparing the terms of reference for the party’s promised “once in a generation” inquiry into post-secondary education. The panel will meet on June 19, which just happens to be National TAFE day, which institution the Opposition uses as a synonym for training. As Labor shadow education minister Tanya Plibersek put it yesterday, “Labor wants prospective students to see TAFE and uni as equally attractive study options.”
The panel of notables includes astute choices. Student-funding policy expert Mark Warburton is there. As is Jennifer Westacott from the Business Council of Australia who wants a clear role for TAFE. The indefatigably optimistic Rod Camm from the Australian Council for Private Education and Training is a member. But given the backgrounds of many members it seems overall terms of reference from the group will start with the inquiry asking why TAFE is a good thing and escalating the positives from there.
Full membership is: Jennifer Westacott, Catriona Jackson, in-coming chief executive of Universities Australia, Ross Milbourne, former VC of UTS, Mark Warbuton, Sally McManus, ACTU secretary, Rod Camm, Jeannie Rae, national president of the National Tertiary Education Union, James Pearson, CEO Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pat Forward, Australian Education Union TAFE secretary, Craig Robertson, TAFE Directors Australia, Mary Faraone, CEO Holmesglen TAFE, Don Zoellner, TAFE policy expert from Charles Darwin U, Shelley Mallett, policy researcher at the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Brian Howe, Hawke and Keating governments cabinet minister.