TAFE SA regional boards considered

PUSH FOR CHANGE: Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell at the TAFE SA Mount Gambier campus.

By Raquel Mustillo

THE STATE Government will consider the establishment of regional TAFE SA boards after a successful motion introduced by independent MP Troy Bell was unanimously backed in Parliament.

After almost three years of advocacy, the Member for Mount Gambier’s push to abolish the centrally-operated TAFE SA board is one step closer as the government indicated it will consider reforming the vocational provider.

Mr Bell’s three-part motion also sought a commitment regional TAFE SA campuses be accountable and responsive to country communities.

The long-time campaigner for TAFE SA decentralisation has previously said there is a strong desire to return to local boards of management – similar to the regional health structure that has been established – and investigate opportunities to expand training currently offered in the region.

Labor parliamentarian and former shadow Industry and Skills Minister Clare Scriven said there was value in examining how TAFE SA could better meet the needs of Limestone Coast industry and students.

“There are challenges in regional areas that are totally different to those in Adelaide, and without strong local input, decisions that are made often overlook the local conditions,” she said.

“We get better outcomes when the voices of the local community are really embedded in the decision-making, so Labor was pleased to support the motion. 

“We need TAFE to be an effective public training provider with strong local support.”

Last year, Education Minister John Gardner responded to Mr Bell’s questions about TAFE SA and said the organisation was “in the midst of reviewing its structure to improve its business operations.”

“This has included an analysis of regional manager positions across the organisation,” he said.

“The proposal being consider includes regionally-based positions to respond to local training needs.”

At the time, Mr Gardner said he had been advised TAFE SA was consulting with its staff and unions on the proposed restructure and no decisions had been made.

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