The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment has adopted an inquiry into the operation of TAFEs. The inquiry will allow the committee to continue the work of a previous Parliament in this area.

The TAFE sector is the largest education and training sector in Australia. Australia’s TAFE network comprises more than 1000 campuses located across urban, regional and remote locations, with many institutes offering further services throughout the Asia-Pacific and other offshore regions.

“I am pleased to be able to continue the important work of the previous committee, especially given the importance of TAFE institutions in battling unemployment. This is a current issue of significance around the country and one which requires attention” said Committee Chair and Member for Herbert QLD, Mr Ewen Jones MP.

The Minister for Industry, The Hon Ian MacFarlane MP, has asked the committee to inquire into and report on the role played by TAFEs. The terms of reference for the Inquiry are:

TAFEs have played a critical role in the training and development of Australians for more than one hundred years. For many Australians, TAFEs provide a critical pathway to training and skills which are increasingly needed to access employment. They also play a critical role in regions and in providing access for disadvantaged groups.

The committee will inquire into and report on the role played by TAFEs in:

· the development of skills in the Australian economy
· the provision of pathways for Australians to access employment
· the provision of pathways for Australians to access University education; and
the operation of a competitive training market

The committee has accepted as evidence to this inquiry all submissions made to the previous inquiry.

Submissions are now invited by email to Submissions are due by 9 April 2014.

A detailed schedule of public hearings will be announced in the near future, however, it is the committee’s intention to hold hearings in capital cities and rural and regional areas.