What struggling TAFE spent its money on

TAFE Queensland is in crisis with a nearly $40 million deficit, but at least $6.5 million of lavish expenditure has been identified.

The red ink can be revealed amid $6.5 million of waste over the past three years in information and communications technology blowouts, corporate travel and hospitality, and a six-figure golden handshake for the former chief executive, who was sacked in 2017.

It comes on the back of The Courier-Mail's revelations that the Government is targeting teachers' lucrative perks to ensure TAFE can compete with cheaper private trainers, including asking them to work longer than their current 26 contact hours.

Teachers are being asked to give up lucrative EBA conditions to make TAFE more competitive.
Teachers are being asked to give up lucrative EBA conditions to make TAFE more competitive.

Skills Minister Shannon Fentiman said TAFEs around the country were struggling under Commonwealth cuts to training and an unfair student loan system that made university study more attractive.

She said Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP changes at the beginning of 2017 had seen significantly fewer students applying at TAFE and that had affected revenue streams.

"In 2017-18, TAFE Queensland had an $18.6 million reduction from students accessing Commonwealth Government VET student loans compared to the year before," she said.

Ms Fentiman said TAFE was working hard to improve performance and its $6.9 million deficit in 2018-19 was smaller than the $11 million originally forecast.

Skills Minister Shannon Fentiman
Skills Minister Shannon Fentiman

Meanwhile, the Government's razor gang will go through the body, looking to make up $1.7 billion in total public-sector savings over the next four years.

Opposition skills and training spokeswoman Fiona Simpson said there were plenty of examples of waste, including more than $2.8 million on ICT project blowouts and $2.8 million in overseas travel.

The body also spent $230,600 on Commonwealth Games tickets in 2018 to take commercial clients.

And the Government paid a $390,000 severance payment to former chief executive Jodi Schmidt in September 2017, three months before her contract ended.

Opposition skills and training spokeswoman Fiona Simpson
Opposition skills and training spokeswoman Fiona Simpson

Ms Simpson said the Palaszczuk Government had run TAFE Queensland into the ground.



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