On April 2 2019, the 2019 Australian Government budget was presented to the parliament, a seminal document that sets out the government’s funding priorities for the coming year. Delivered in the context of a federal election that’s expected to be called during the course of the coming week, the budget sets the tone for the coming debate.
This budget contains a number of significant announcements for the independent tertiary education sector, encompassing higher education, vocational education and training. These are set out in the budget brief available from the link below:
Amongst the measures set out in the budget (and referenced in detail via the above link), of interest to the independent tertiary education sector are the following.
National Skills Commission & Careers Institute—
A commitment of $132.4 million over four years from FY2019-20 to build an enhanced approach to skills development by establishing a National Skills Commission to drive long-term reforms in the VET sector, piloting new Skills Organisations in key areas of future job growth and establishing a National Careers Institute, to improve career advice and provide necessary information for jobseekers.
VET School Based Programs —
A five-year commitment of $67.5 million from FY2018-19 to trial 10 national training hubs supporting school-based vocational education in regions with high youth unemployment, with an aim of creating better linkages between schools and local industry, and other skills development measures.
Skills Shortage Payments —
A commitment of $200.2 million over four years from FY2019-20 (and $147.5 million in FY2023-24) to establish a new Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment to boost existing incentives for areas of identified skills needs to support up to 80,000 new apprentices over five years, as well as simplifying and streamlining the Australian Apprenticeship Incentives Program.
VSL & FEE-HELP Funding Commitments—
The Government will commit $1.385 million to support FEE-HEL, Vet Student Loans program and delivery in FY2019-20. The cost of this program rises to $1,508 million in FY2022-23.