THE whole TAFE SA board would be dismissed under a Liberal state government, education spokesman John Gardner has announced.
The Liberals would use ministerial powers to dissolve the board and appoint a new one.
The ongoing TAFE SA crisis has already taken two scalps. Board chair Peter Vaughan was sacked and chief executive Robin Murt resigned after an audit by the national regulator resulted in the threat to suspend enrolments in 10 substandard courses.
“Under the Weatherill Government TAFE SA has failed its students and requires fundamental reform to ensure they are receiving the quality of education they deserve,” Mr Gardner said.
“TAFE SA needs a fresh start after 16 years of Labor neglect and a new board will breathe life into the organisation. The new board members will be subject to a much stricter selection (process) and more rigorous management performance reviews.”
Mr Gardner said a separate academic board would be established to improve governance and training quality. It would report to the TAFE SA board.
“This academic board will have a critical role in ensuring that the expectations of industry are being met, through its engagement with the new industry skills councils.”
A Marshall government would also make the training system “fully contestable … as quickly as possible”, meaning allowing private companies to compete with TAFE SA for all subsidised course places.
It comes after the Liberals this week announced a policy to spend $100 million on more than 20,000 new vocational training places.
Education Minister Susan Close said the State Government was “getting on with the job of fixing the issues at TAFE”.
“We have appointed a new chair of the TAFE board (Joanne Denley) and an interim chief executive (Alex Reid) who are both doing outstanding jobs and I look forward to working with them into the future,” she said.
“Key industry groups and other stakeholders have also endorsed TAFE’s approach under the new leadership.”
The suspension of courses was postponed from January to early March, giving TAFE SA more time to demonstrate it has fixed the various issues.
The only hearing of a federal inquiry into TAFE SA was bizarrely held in Sydney.