The Australian Senate has set up an inquiry into the Weatherill Labor Government’s TAFE SA debacle.


Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham welcomed the Senate agreeing to the inquiry that the Turnbull Government had proposed.


“Jay Weatherill won’t do his job and hold Susan Close to account so the Australian Senate will,” Minister Birmingham said.


“This is significant step by the Australian Senate demonstrates the lack of confidence in Jay Weatherill’s government to fix their TAFE SA mess.


“The alarming report from the Australian Skills Quality Authority on TAFE SA demands a full and thorough response.


“I call on the Weatherill Labor Government to fully cooperate with the Senate inquiry, just as they’ve demanded other jurisdictions cooperate with their water Royal Commission.


“Jay Weatherill, Susan Close, current and former executives at TAFE SA and in the public service must front up to the Senate inquiry to offer a full explanation of who knew what and when.


“After 16 years of lies and cover-ups, Jay Weatherill and SA Labor cannot be trusted with their secretive internal investigator.


“I urge Jay Weatherill’s Labor colleagues that will run the Senate inquiry to hold public hearings, to invite all the key players involved in this sordid affair to give evidence and to ensure the inquiry reports on time and in full.


“South Australians deserve nothing less than a full and frank account of how they’ve been let down.”


Final text of agreed motion


That the following matter be referred to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report by 28 February 2018:

  • the failures in TAFE SA that have resulted in suspension of courses as well as quality issues with the provision of training;
  • the effective use by the South Australian Labor Government of $771 million provided over 6 years from the Federal Government to support vocational education and training in South Australia;
  • the impact of the South Australian Government’s $91 million in funding cuts over five years on students, industry and the broader community;
  • the role and impact of the scrapped Skills for All policy, and its replacement WorkReady policy;
  • the impact and frequency of changes made by the South Australian Government to their Training Subsidy List;
  • the adequacy of the oversight of TAFE SA by its leadership, board and the South Australian Government, as well as national regulatory oversight by the Australian Skills Quality Authority and other agencies; and
  • any other relevant matters.