Release type: Media Release


Labor to cut funding to skills, only fund uni courses for two years


The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business
Acting Minister for Education and Youth

At a time when the Morrison Government is delivering record apprenticeships, record funding for VET and TAFE and uncapped university places, we now learn Labor has a plan to cut funding, cut skills training and restrict university places.

Anthony Albanese needs to explain to Australians today why his announcement doesn’t add up and actually represents a cut to skills and education.

Under Labor’s plan:

•    They are only funding a limited number of university undergraduate degree places for two years when most run for three years. What happens to these places for the third year?
•    They are cutting funding to VET and TAFE when the data shows the Morrison Government is investing record amounts of funding to get Australians skilled and into jobs.

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business and Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert, said Australians can’t trust Labor when last time in government they slashed employer incentives by $1.2bn and saw the biggest fall in training commencements on record.

‘The Morrison Government is the best friend apprentices have ever had and now we know Labor will risk our economic recovery by slashing funding that is getting Australians skilled,’ Minister Robert said.

‘Under the Morrison Government, university places are uncapped and more Australians are studying than ever before—in fact, just this year there’s been a 5 per cent increase from last year.

‘The Morrison Government is already delivering $2b into VET skills through JobTrainer—and it’s working.

‘We’ve got the most trade apprentices working right now, more than ever before, because we’ve invested over $4b into boosting apprenticeships and ensuring Australians complete their apprenticeship. 

‘So what Anthony Albanese has announced today is actually less money than what the Government is investing so Australians have a right to ask why Labor is cutting funding at a time we need skills the most.’


Note that Commonwealth expenditure relating to the $3.9 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy did not occur until the 2021 calendar year. This will be shown in the Government Funding of VET 2021 report released next year, along with additional JobTrainer funding.

Australian Government contributions to VET in 2019 and 2020

Australian Government contributions to VET in 2019 and 2020








State, Territory and Australian Government contributions to VET in 2020:

($ millions) NSW VIC QLD WA SA TAS NT ACT Total States Aust. Govt Total
2020 contributions 1,199.0 972.9 692.1 487.0 222.1 116.2 87.6 87.0 3,863.9 3,829.6 7,693.6
Change since 2019 -20.0 24.4 54.5 131.3 -42.2 -2.6 -2.3 -0.9 142.2 1,183.7 1,326.0
Change % -1.6% 2.6% 8.6% 36.9% -16.0% -2.2% -2.5% -0.9% 3.8% 44.7% 20.8%