Re-elected McGowan Labor Government’s TAFE fee guarantee

Posted on February 7, 2021
  • Fee freeze on all TAFE and vocational education and training courses extended to at least 2025
  • Major reductions in course fees for 180 TAFE courses will continue to 2025
  • Lower fees has resulted in a significant boost to enrolments and applications
  • $282 million fee guarantee investment to provide affordable training for Western Australians
  • Creating a pipeline of skilled Western Australians to support WA’s growing economy 

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will deliver another boost to TAFE and training for Western Australians, guaranteeing all TAFE fees will be frozen until at least 2025.

The TAFE fee freeze guarantee has already been funded and will be included in the Pre-election Financial Projections Statement (PFPS). It includes an extension of the McGowan Government’s highly successful reductions in TAFE fees on 180 courses until 2025.

Under the ‘Lower Fees, Local Skills’ program, fees for 180 high priority qualifications were reduced by up to 72 per cent. Under the previous Liberal National Government, a 510 per cent increase in TAFE fees resulted in a 23 per cent decline in student enrolments.

As a result of the program, there have been more than 50,000 enrolments in low fee courses which lead to qualifications in areas including defence, METRONET, construction, engineering, information technology, hospitality, agriculture and community services.

The latest figures show as of January 10 this year, there had been 25,631 applications to enrol in TAFE compared to 17,993 applications at the same time in 2020 – an increase of 43 per cent. 

The McGowan Government has allocated $282 million to extend the ‘Lower Fees, Local Skills’ program for another four years, so prospective and current students in priority study areas will benefit from savings on course fees while gaining skills in areas that lead to quality jobs. 

The fee freeze on all other TAFE course categories introduced by the McGowan Government in 2017 and the $420 cap for students who leave school early will also continue.

‘Lower Fees, Local Skills’ was rolled out before COVID-19 hit, to make training affordable and began with course fees heavily reduced for 34 priority VET qualifications. Enrolments in this first batch of qualifications increased by 21 per cent in 2020.

As part of the McGowan Government’s WA Recovery Plan, the program was expanded in July 2020 to include 39 additional qualifications.

Half price fees for a third batch of 107 qualifications came into effect on January 1, 2021, bringing the total number of ‘lower fees’ courses to 180.

People under 25, eligible jobseekers of all ages and concession holders pay no more than $400 in annual course fees under the initiative.

For more information about training, visit or contact your local Jobs and Skills Centre on 13 64 64, TAFE college or training provider.

Comments attributed to Minister for Education and Training Sue Ellery:

“Investing in a skilled Western Australian workforce is an investment in WA’s economy for the long-term.

“Everyone deserves a pathway to a quality job, and that’s why we slashed TAFE fees so more people can get quality training.

“Only a re-elected WA Labor Government can be trusted to guarantee TAFE fees are frozen.

“Our response to the pandemic has seen WA’s economy get a big boost and we know there are jobs available across many industries. Our priority is to ensure Western Australians have the right training to fill these roles and provide students and businesses the certainty they need.

“These courses have been chosen as they match up with the skills employers need right now and those occupations with high projected jobs growth.

“Our government had already drastically reduced TAFE fees prior to COVID-19 and expanded on these as part of the WA Recovery Plan. We also invested a record $167.4 million in upgrades to TAFE infrastructure across the five Western Australian TAFE colleges.

“Our commitment of keeping TAFE fees low supports our plan for economic diversification and responds to emerging skill needs, to ensure we continue our strong recovery.”

What the McGowan Labor Government is already delivering:

  • ‘Lower Fees, Local Skills’ initiative – slashed TAFE fees by up to 72 per cent on 180 courses
  • A record $167.4 million investment in upgrades to TAFE infrastructure across the five Western Australian TAFE colleges, as part of the WA Recovery Plan 
  • Introduced free TAFE short courses to upskill thousands of Western Australians
  • $4.8 million for the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive, providing financial support to employers who take on a displaced apprentice or trainee
  • $8.5 million for $20,000 incentives for defence manufacturing industry employers to train apprentices in key trades