A suite of measures designed to address workplace shortages, boost skills levels and get more people back into work were announced in Tuesday night's federal budget.
This pleased Wollongong councillor Cath Blakey, who was happy the government recognised that apprenticeships and traineeships were important.
But the Ward 2 Greens councillor feared most of the money allocated was going to employers rather than the training institution of TAFE.
The government announced it was extending the JobTrainer fund, which provides access to affordable training courses for young people.
The budget provides for an additional $506.3 million over two years, to be matched by contributions from the states and territories.
The government expects the extension to provide about 163,000 extra low-fee and free training places, including 33,800 places in aged care and 10,000 places in digital skills courses.
An extra $2.7 billion will be spent over four years to expand the government's Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidies, which reimburse employers for the wages of new apprentices and trainees by up to 50 per cent.
Cr Blakey said this was well and good but there was no love at all for TAFE.
"The federal treasurer talks of a skills shortages and demand for skilled workers, but fails to provide guaranteed funding for TAFE," she said.
"After years of privatising, defunding and closing TAFEs, is there any wonder that there is a skills shortage within the Australian economy?
After years of privatising, defunding and closing TAFEs, is there any wonder that there is a skills shortage within the Australian economy?Wollongong councillor Cath Blakey
"Aged care worker shortage? TAFE is the answer. Disability worker shortage? TAFE is the answer. Childcare worker shortage? TAFE is the answer. Hospitality worker shortage? TAFE is the answer. Upskilling and re-skilling workers? TAFE is the answer.
"Instead what the federal government has focused on is wage subsidies to business to take on apprenticeships, and only if they are matched by state government funding.
"Plus there are funds for private colleges, but nothing to guarantee funds for our public vocational training institutes, or counter the state government's job cutting and outsourcing for TAFE.
"In order to address the skills shortage our federal and state governments must restore guaranteed funding to TAFE."
During last Monday night's Wollongong City Council meeting, Cr Blakey led a notice of motion to fight any TAFE cuts, which was passed unanimously.
"Our TAFEs train our community for the jobs of today, and develop the workforce for our future.
"Council's Economic Development Strategy highlights the role of TAFE as a training provider, particularly in the trades that are essential for advanced manufacturing and the expanding renewable energy sector," Cr Blakey said.
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