Tanya Plibersek’s continues her full-disclosure policy, with yet another statement that Labor wants a bigger role for TAFE, (which she often uses as a synonym for VET). Yesterday she told Fran Kelly on RN, “We want about 40 per cent of Australians to have a bachelor degree or equivalent, but we need to also look at the objectives we have for other types of post-secondary school qualifications. TAFE has gone backwards in funding by 4 per cent while university funding has increased by 45 per cent. The next big piece of reform is making sure that TAFE is not the poor cousin of the university sector.” Unless this means more money for both HE growth will take a hit. Nobody in HE lobbyland will ever be able to say they were not warned.
Simon Birmingham is also clear about what he will do without the Senate numbers to pass his HE funding package. “Given the rate of spending growth in universities over the last few years and its contribution to the budget deficit to date, it is entirely reasonable to continue to expect that universities make some contribution to budget repair with a slightly lower rate of growth in their funding,” he said yesterday. If a deal is not done in a month well, MYEFO is coming.