Rudd promises to give TAFEs a boost

THE Australian Education Union has welcomed the strong commitment to TAFE outlined by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the Labor campaign launch over the weekend.

Australian Education Union Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said it was wonderful to see TAFE feature so prominently in a federal election campaign launch, particularly at a time when "TAFEs across the country are under such direct attack".

"Prime Minister Rudd put state and territory governments on notice today - under a Labor Federal Government, further cuts to state and territory VET budgets will not be tolerated," Mr Gavrielatos said.

"Over 1.2 million people attend TAFEs each year - more than attend university - yet we rarely see the poli- tical spotlight shone on vocational education.

"Today, TAFE was the centrepiece of the Prime Minister's address at the campaign launch, and that's a welcome development."

State and territory governments have drastically cut TAFE budgets over the past two years.

But under the proposed Labor plan, states will be required to maintain their VET funding levels.

"Requiring the states and territories to maintain their VET funding levels would be a critical first step to turn around the crisis in TAFE funding," Mr Gavrielatos said.

"TAFEs are the leading provider of high-quality vocational education, training workers across every industry in the economy, including second- chance education and employment opportunities to everyone in the Australian community."