In August 2008 the Brumby Labor Government announced a series of reforms to VET called Skills for Life – the Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) in Securing Jobs for your Future – Skills for Victoria.  The reforms were to be implemented over two years commencing January 2009. The government committed $316 million over four years which it said would provide an additional 172,000 training places. [1]

The Victorian Training Guarantee was effectively a voucher. It was described by the Victorian Government as “an entitlement to a government subsidised place in recognised training that can be accessed at any time and it will continue to be available for training at successively higher levels.”[2] This definition defies the reality of the reforms as students in Victoria already had an entitlement at a publicly funded TAFE institute prior to the introduction of the Victorian Training Guarantee. The VTG restricted access to government funding for VET qualifications through a series of complicated barriers to funding, including restrictions based on age and prior qualification.

The Victorian Training Guarantee was progressively implemented from the beginning of 2009, and fully implemented by the end of 2010. In a complex set of arrangements, the government adjusted its own contribution to the cost of training, progressively withdrawing funding from TAFE over the two year period and increasing the students’ costs with different funding rates and student contributions applying at different qualification levels. At the same time the Victorian Government negotiated access to an income contingent loan scheme with the Federal Government for students studying at Diploma and Advanced Diploma level.

In its early phase, the Victorian reforms included additional funding for TAFE, accessed in two different ways. TAFE providers were paid at a slightly higher rate for training in their student contact hour funding than private RTOs, and they were paid an additional amount of money for full service provision. This is a duplicate of the arrangements being implemented in SA through Skills for All.

In November 2010, the Brumby Labor government was defeated.

In October 2011, Minister Hall announced a $400m budget overspend, and cuts to TAFEs with budgets greater than $100m. He said that these were the first steps towards “creating a level playing field between TAFE and non-TAFE providers”. By the end of 2011, more than 300 TAFE jobs had been lost.

On May 1, 2012, the Victorian budget cut a further $300m from TAFEs’ budgets, removing the differential SCH funding arrangements between TAFEs and private providers by July 2012, and TAFEs’ full service funding by the end of 2012. VTA estimates a total of 2200 job losses, the closure of hundreds of courses, and campuses, particularly in regional areas.

Further Reading

[1] Securing Jobs for Your Future – Skills for Victoria, Victorian Government, August 2008, p.1

[2] IBID p.15