Free TAFE saving future nurses up to $24,000

Published Thursday, 16 November, 2023 at 10:16 AM


Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Minister for Training and Skills Development and Minister for Youth Justice
The Honourable Di Farmer

  • The Palaszczuk Government is boosting Fee Free TAFE for nursing students, with an extra 3,500 Diploma of Nursing placements set to be available for free in 2024. 
  • The fee free Diploma of Nursing will be available through TAFE Queensland, CQUniversity and Mater Education.
  • This is on top of the Fee Free TAFE placements that will be offered in partnership with the State and Federal Governments in key skill areas like early childhood education and care.

The Palaszczuk Government is charting a pathway for the next generation of Queensland nurses through free vocational education and training.

The State Government will provide an additional $40.60 million on top of our existing investment in Diploma of Nursing estimated to be $46.9 million.

This represents an $87.5 million boost to the Diploma of Nursing Fee Free TAFE program – saving students up to $24,000.

This is on top of the National Skills Partnership between the Queensland and Australian governments that will see 43,400 free TAFE places available in the Sunshine State over the three years from 2024, backed by a $170 million investment.

More than 58,000 students have benefitted from Fee Free TAFE this year, including 2,400 Diploma of Nursing students. 

Recent Jobs Queensland’s data shows the Health Care and Social Assistance industry is expected to grow by 16.4 per cent by 2025-26.

Quotes attributable to the Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Annastacia Palaszczuk:

“Queensland led the nation in starting the lifechanging Fee Free TAFE initiative and we are pleased to see it continue in partnership with the Albanese Government.

“As Queensland continues to grow, it is important we have a job-ready frontline health service to meet the needs of the future.

“That’s why our government is investing an additional $87.5 million to give future health heroes access to the skills and training they need, without the cost barrier.

“I heard from students in Townsville that this program meant they could follow their dream of becoming a nurse when they otherwise couldn’t afford to do so. That is why we do this.

“Growing our next generation of healthcare workers is just the start as we chart a long-term blueprint on recruiting, retaining and building Queensland’s health workforce.

“And vocational education has a big role to play in that work.”  

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer:

“This investment in nursing education is so important for Queenslanders.

“We are making it easier for Queenslanders to jump on the frontline of the health industry. Cutting study costs has proven to be a great career kick-starter.

“The Diploma of Nursing is always one of the most popular courses in the vocational education and training sector and the Queensland Government is committed to making up to 3,500 study free places available in 2024.

“Our Good people. Good Jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032 positions us to seize the job opportunities available now and into the next decade and the health sector is always a priority.

“This latest announcement is another great example of that and proof of our commitment to delivering good jobs, better services and a great lifestyle for Queenslanders.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman:

“Nurses are a critical part of Queensland’s health system and access to free TAFE courses provides a great opportunity for more people to kickstart their career in health.

“A Diploma of Nursing offers the nurses of tomorrow hands-on, industry-relevant training including placement in a healthcare setting.

“If you want work that is meaningful, fulfilling, well-paying and secure, then choose health, and when you complete your studies, we will have a job for you.”

“Our health workforce is expected to grow 16.4 per cent by 2026, this initiative is just one of many measures we have introduced to try and help grow our own workforce to ensure Queenslanders have access to quality care for generations to come.

“Our healthcare sector is always looking for compassionate and talented Queenslanders and there has never been a better time to start a career in nursing.”

Quotes attributable to Mater Group Chief Operating Officer Angi Bissell:

 “This is fantastic news for students, hospitals and patients. Queensland needs to expand its nursing workforce and we’ve seen that fee-free training is a huge incentive to those thinking about a career in healthcare.

“We’ve seen a big increase in school-leavers applying for our Diploma of Nursing course, as well as Queenslanders who want to switch careers or get back into the workforce after having children.

“We also encourage people to apply who have been part of the unpaid care workforce with home-based care responsibilities, who want to use that experience to jump start a new career. If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, get in touch now – there has never been a better time to start a career in health.”

Quotes attributable to TAFE Queensland Clinical Laboratory Manager Kiah Abbott:

“Now is the perfect time for people who are looking to kick-start a career in nursing to get job-ready in 2024 for free. 

“Our nursing training combines the very latest educational content, technology, and delivery methods to give our students the practical skills they will need to not only be successful at work, but also to provide our State’s healthcare industry with a pipeline of skilled workers for years to come.

“TAFE Queensland is committed to providing Queenslanders with the high quality, hands-on training they need to succeed in their chosen career, while fulfilling the skills demands of our State’s industries and communities.”


Media contact

Premier: Courtney Thompson - 0433 585 570

Minister Farmer: Gary Shipway - 0458 090 906