GAYLE TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (12:26): Since 2014 the Andrews Labor government has invested $4 billion into TAFE, skills and higher education, and the 2023–24 budget further reinforces our commitment to quality by investing over $500 million in TAFE and the training system. This budget delivers $170 million for important TAFE capital projects such as a new TAFE at Melton, a new TAFE at Sunbury, a centre for excellence in disability and inclusion at the Gordon TAFE in Geelong and the community health and learning hub at the Castlemaine campus of Bendigo TAFE. Future skills are up-front and centre, with $50 million for the clean energy fund, which features stage 2 of the Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre at Federation TAFE in Ballarat, a clean energy centre at Gippsland TAFE Morwell and the building innovation and design centre at South West TAFE at Warrnambool.
This budget is about empowering our community to access quality training and skills. More Victorians can now access free TAFE to gain skills for in-demand careers. Our vulnerable communities will be able to further access literacy, numeracy and digital skills. And of course this budget supports our apprentices and trainees. That is why we are investing in a tailor-made mental health program and establishing the apprenticeship task force. This is a training and skills budget that embraces regional and metropolitan Melbourne and epitomises our unwavering commitment to quality public provision of vocational education and training in this state.