Thousands of TAFE places were under threat and TAFE fees could skyrocket because of the Opposition's training policy, Education Minister Kay Hallahan said today.
Mrs Hallahan said Opposition plans to make TAFE colleges independent of Government would backfire because the colleges would become liable for $12 million in higher staff salaries and $4.8 million in payroll tax - which meant at least 4,000 places would have to be axed.
The Minister said Opposition Leader Richard Court's plan to renegotiate Federal-State agreements on TAFE also put $100 million in Commonwealth funding - or 23,800 places - in jeopardy.
"Under Government policy, TAFE colleges are exempt from payroll tax, and existing TAFE fees have the widest range of exemptions in Australia," she said.
"The only way the Opposition parties could fund their promises and extra costs would be to allow 'independent' colleges to apply high tuition fees and reduce the number of places."
Mrs Hallahan said the Lawrence Government had increased the number of TAFE places for Year 12 school-leavers by 168 per cent in the last three years and would continue to increase training opportunities for Western Australians.