A new taxpayer-funded ad campaign to attract international students to South Australia is a welcomed backflip, but the extra funding won't work while domestic policies cripple training providers.
“On the one hand Treasurer Koutsantonis says he wants to boost the number of international students in South Australia, while on the other hand his Government has abandoned successful industry-based vocational education and training (VET) providers,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Labor’s disastrous WorkReady scheme means that from 1 July, only 10% of new subsidised training places will be allocated to non-government providers. In 2012, almost three quarters of South Australia’s training funding was open to the training course and provider that best met student needs.
“However, 85% of the international VET students studying in South Australia choose to do so with non-government training providers – they are voting with their feet, and their wallets, for the training that meets their needs.
“This recent $5.7 million decision by State Labor is a demonstration of overall policy inconsistency, with one arm of government not realising the impacts of another arm of government.
“Without a strong domestic market many quality training providers won’t be around to capitalise on this new international education campaign.
“For Adelaide to succeed as an international education destination we need policy consistency.
“Labor’s previous cuts to international education saw the number of international VET enrolments in South Australia drop 7.3% between 2013 and 2014.
“At the same time the number of international VET enrolments across Australia increased by 15.4%.”
Senator Birmingham said Ms Gago’s anti-student-choice training policy, WorkReady, would further undermine South Australia’s training market for domestic and international students.
“In addition to cutting student choice, SA businesses, industry associations and private training providers have all argued Labor’s new policy will force private training providers to cut jobs and the services they provide.
“For the sake of domestic students, local employees and our international education sector it is critical that the South Australian Government revise its flawed WorkReady policy to reinstate choice for students and employers.”
Media contact: Caitlin Keage 0427 729 987