Release type: Media Release


Phoney Tony rhetoric on Trades Training can’t hide abysmal record


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Education
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard today outlined for the Parliament the appalling record of the Opposition when they were in Government on training the next generation of apprentices.

Ms Gillard explained that the Coalition in 11 long years of neglect managed to build just 24 Australian Technical Colleges, an average of just three per state.

In 2004 the Liberal Party promised the Australian Technical Colleges would help 21,000 students over four years at a cost of $289 million.

In fact it cost $440 million to establish these 24 colleges and cost an average of $140,000 for just 3000 students enrolled - a cost blowout of more than 50 per cent.

Approximately 90 per cent of ATCs were either in Coalition or marginal electorates and ATC staff were required to sign up to an AWA to get a job at them.

Mr Abbott has now threatened to slash the Rudd Government’s program that by the start of the 2011 school year will have delivered almost three times the number of trades training centres.

Mr Abbott’s education slash and burn campaign would not only see every school that hasn’t had a Trades Training Centre approved miss out, it also means that around 180 schools and their 62,000 students that have been approved for funding under Round Two will not be able to proceed with their Trade Training Centre project.

These schools have already been told they will get funding and will have begun planning for these fantastic new facilities.

Mr Abbott needs to explain to these kids who want to get their start on their bricklaying, carpentry and electrical apprenticeships to name just three why he is putting their working future at risk.

The Rudd Government’s Trades Training Centre program has 135 projects underway to construct or refurbish Trade Training Centres. 13 Trade Training Centres projects are already complete and are providing a chance for young people to get a start on their career as tradies.

42 schools are already delivering new trade qualifications as a result of TTC funding and by the end of this year, approximately 68 Trade Training Centres projects benefiting 173 schools are scheduled to be completed.

The program allows for every secondary school, regardless of electorate or whether they are in metropolitan or country areas to build a Trade Training Centre or, if they wish, pool their funding with other schools to create trades super centres.

Given his party’s record, Phoney Tony simply can’t be trusted to keep young people at school learning skills that will help them get an apprenticeship and ultimately a job.