Release type: Joint Media Release


Fee-Free TAFE saves early childhood education students up to $9,000


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training
The Hon Dr Anne Aly MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education
Minister for Youth

The Albanese Government’s Fee-Free TAFE plan is helping reduce cost of living pressures, with students saving thousands of dollars in course fees.

Students undertaking a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care in Victoria are saving up to $8,700 with the Albanese Government’s Fee-Free TAFE program.

The need to broaden access to education, and to fix skill shortages, is why our Government partnered with the Victorian Government to invest $250 million in the State as part of our 12 month Skills Agreement to deliver more than 55,000 Fee-Free TAFE places in 2023.

This includes around 3,800 early childhood education and care places this year.

Nationally, the preschool education sector was projected to grow by 17.6 per cent by 2026, according to projections made in 2021.

To secure the future prosperity of Victoria, our governments are investing in our greatest resource – our people – because we understand that access to education and training gives people control over their own destiny. It is critical to a person’s employment prospects. 

This complements the Albanese Government’s investment in early childhood education and care, ensuring Australian children are able to access the life educational and health benefits of early years learning – no matter their background or family circumstances.

Delivering real cost of living relief for around 1.2 million Australian families, while providing economic security benefits for women.

Quotes attributable to Minister O’Connor

“Fee-Free TAFE is a big part of the fix for the skills shortages we’re seeing in Victoria, particularly in education and care. Almost 40 per cent of national job ads for early childhood teachers are in Victoria, and education aides are in shortage in Victoria even though they’re not in shortage nationally.

“Early childhood education and care and nursing are essential to ensuring Australians receive the care they need at every stage of their life. Care qualifications are among the most in-demand qualifications in Australia, particularly in Victoria.

“We’re increasing access and reducing cost barriers for training for our State’s most in-demand jobs to ensure a pipeline of workers to these critical roles.

“Fee-Free TAFE is focused on identified priority courses in areas of skills shortage right now. These courses will lead to jobs needed most by employers in the Victorian economy.”

Quotes attributable to Minister Aly

“The first five years are the most transformational time in a child’s life. We know our more affordable early learning reforms are only possible with a sustainable early childhood education workforce.  

“Fee-Free TAFE is one of the important actions we’re taking to ensure a quality and sustainable workforce for the early childhood education sector.

“Our investments in Fee-Free TAFE and more affordable early childhood education and care are ensuring everyone can access quality education and training no matter their background.

“Early childhood education is an excellent example of a feminised industry with multiple opportunities to progress your career.”