Monday, October 29, 2007

Big Tax Bucks for Private ATCs

John Howard today announced his $2 Billion plan for 100 more Australian Technical Colleges. Thirty of these would be "offered" to States and private schools - for which they will receive $10 Million. That's a total of $300 or 15% of the $2 Billion. 30% (state/private schools) get 15% of the money. 70% - all private entities- get 85% of taxpayer money.

The other 70, will receive $1.99 Billion of taxpayer money, to go to private organisations. The private organisations will get 85% of taxpayer money for just 70% of the ATC's. States and private schools will get 0.5% of funding for 30% of the ATCs. This seems to be another instance of John Howard splurging taxpaer dollars to private entities.

Then ther eis the issue of performance and accountability. The Auditor-General's (Performance) Report #3 on DEST's funding of current ATCs showeed that enrolments were only 2/3 of those projected by ATCs in their requests for funds, and funded by DEST. They also show that they are not achieving the numbers of School-Based Apprentices and Trainees required. (only 74 of projected 460). There were problems of accountability identified by the A-G, but which won't be addressed till 2008-2009. Significant numbers had problems with their RTO status, and have had to "sub-contract" to TAFEs

ATC's are inefficient in terms of their funding model, and represent John Howard's policy of providing great amounts of taxpayer dollars to private entities, at the expense of public facilities. The current arrangements are unsatisfactory, but Mr Howard will continue to fund private entities with 99.5% of the funding for only 70% of the facilities. Meanwhile, universities, TAFE and public schools have had their share of federal funding cut.