State Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced in September that $1.7 billion would be cut from the NSW state and private education funding over the next four years. With growing concern over the nation’s skills shortage there has been major opposition to the cuts with some believing education standards are slipping.
Another issue which has arisen involves state cuts to the vocational training budget, endangering a Council of Australian Government agreement on overhauling the sector. A deal was made in which the COAG pledged a large increase in funds to states in return for an overhaul of the VET sector. The massive cuts to TAFE funding are set to affect rural and regional communities the most where the local TAFE is often the only option for training. Attention has now shifted toward the impact of the quality of education across the state system. Interestingly enough, countries such as India are looking to Australian institutions to set up satellite campuses in order to meet the demand for skills needed in their advancing economies.