MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:36): The Andrews Labor government is making the TAFE and training system better than ever. Now, some people in the chamber have some very short memories, and I would too if I had been part of a party that tried to decimate TAFE. We have not wasted a day, and I am so proud that Labor saved TAFE. Labor stamped out the tick and flick approach to training. We stamped out poor-quality providers.
Dr Bach: On a point of order, President, I am seeking some clarification from you on your ruling, sir. Just earlier today Minister Pulford said that it was not in order to express opinions about opposition policy, and that is where Minister Tierney started, as normal, so I simply seek your ruling on that.
Mr Ondarchie: On the point of order, President, you have made it very clear in the past, as did President Atkinson, that ministers statements are not an opportunity to run commentary on opposition parties.
Mr Finn: Further to the point of order, President, it is clearly established in this place that ministers statements are about government initiatives. They are not an excuse to bag the opposition or even fellow government members, but they are about government initiatives, and that is clearly a track that the minister is not going down at the moment.
The PRESIDENT: We have heard enough, and it is true. Ministers statements are about government achievements, so I ask the minister to come back to it.
Ms TIERNEY: Thank you, President. I think it is time to put some facts on the table. TAFE enrolments are higher now than in our first year of government. In the previous government’s final year over 80 000 students deserted TAFE because they saw what was going on. We have stopped the decline, and 2019 saw a particularly strong year of growth for TAFE—11 per cent higher than 2015. And those who wish to spout a 92 000 decline in enrolments since 2016 should go back to school themselves, because it is just wrong, wrong, wrong. When it comes to regional enrolments, in 2019 we turned around the decline that started under the previous government, a decline that saw almost 30 000 students abandon TAFE between 2013 and 2014. Regional TAFEs are now vibrant again. The entire VET system was in decline thanks to those opposite. In 2019 we stopped the decline in enrolments for the first time since 2012.
Performance has also improved under this government; 87.3 per cent of students are satisfied with the overall quality of their training, higher than under the previous government. The proportion of government-funded graduates who improved their employment status after training is 56.9 per cent, higher than under the previous government, despite a pandemic. And pre pandemic it was 64 per cent. We are a government that is delivering better TAFE and a training system that is much better than what was the case under the previous government.