Jo Haylen today welcomed Michael Daley's announcement that Labor will make TAFE free for courses in skills shortage areas.

The policy will offer more than 600,000 fee-free TAFE places over the next decade and will be offered for all certificate level courses in areas where there are skills shortages, such as childcare, aged care, disability care, construction, plumbing and the electrical trades.

Michael Daley and Labor’s Free TAFE Plan will once again make TAFE genuinely accessible to all and revitalise the vocational education system in the state after it has been decimated by eight years of the Liberals and Nationals.

The Liberal-National record of failure on TAFE has seen:

  • 175,000 fewer students enrolled
  • 5,700 teachers and support staff sacked
  • The closure of TAFE campuses in Dapto, Qurindi and Bega
  • Course fees skyrocket by 22 per cent

In 2015 the media revealed the NSW Liberals and Nationals’ secret plan to close TAFE campuses at Epping, Chullora, Scone, Vincentia, Murwillumbah, Corowa, Narrandera and Grenfell.

Michael Daley and Labor will also cap the amount of contestable funding for private providers at 30 per cent, and establish a Private Providers Investigations Unit to investigate complaints by students, ensure private providers are delivering courses at a high standard, and prevent private providers preying on vulnerable people.  

This will cement the role of TAFE as the premier public provider of vocational education and training in NSW.

Mr Daley said: “As a father of two young people in their twenties, I’ve seen how tough it can be for young people to nail down a secure, quality job.

“Free TAFE will help those starting out or those retraining to find jobs in industries that are crying out for more workers.

“This is the ultimate jobs plan, and will be great for jobs growth in both urban and regional NSW. It delivers the skilled workforce of the future.”

NSW Shadow Minister for Skills Prue Car said: Abolishing fees for courses in areas where there is a known skill shortage is a real, common sense way to connect eager workers with good jobs.” 

“Labor will revitalise the TAFE system after years of neglect from the Liberals and Nationals, and ensure that TAFE is properly funded and accessible to all.”


This policy has been costed by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) at $64.5 million over forward estimates.