Interstate students will be welcome to take advantage of Victoria’s free TAFE courses, but training sector insiders have warned the funding model may backfire.
The Victorian Government’s 2018-19 budget put aside $172million for almost 50 free TAFE and pre-apprenticeship training courses and another $304million for new classes and 30000 TAFE places.
Treasurer Tim Pallas said the money was designed to help alleviate the state’s skills shortage.
‘‘There will be no residential restriction or other obligations for anyone wanting to study one of the courses,’’ he said.
‘‘We live in a democracy. People have a free right of movement around this country and it’s not going to be this government’s intention to try and put a prohibition on that.
‘‘Turn up, get yourself an education. The reason they’ll stay here, by the way, is there’s all this work going on — I mean $13.7billion worth of infrastructure this year.’’
He estimated an increased demand of about 30000 places and said while some of the applicants might be from interstate, the vast majority would be Victorians.
The Opposition has slammed the government for not limiting course participation to Victorians.
‘‘(Premier Daniel Andrews’) desperate attempt to beef up student numbers by offering free training to people from overseas and interstate will come at the expense of Victorian students,’’ Shadow Training Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Steph Ryan said.
‘‘This money should be invested to benefit Victorian workers and Victorian jobs.’’
The government later confirmed the free courses would not be open to international students.
The Australian Council for Independent Education and Training said its members were annoyed about missing out on the funds and the Victorian Government was risking student outcomes.
‘‘We have seen firsthand in South Australia that this type of approach is not in the best interest of the students,’’ council chief executive Rod Camm said.