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Issue #1565      19 September 2012

Vic TAFE staff to rally

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has called an emergency rally on premier Ted Baillieu’s Treasury Place doorstep on September 20 after leaked documents revealed the devastating impact of his $300 million TAFE cuts.

The cabinet-in-confidence paper shows that the state government’s cuts have left some of Victoria’s TAFE institutes on the brink of collapse. The AEU said it was clear the TAFE system was now in a fight for survival.

TAFE teachers, support staff, students and supporters will rally at midday in Treasury Gardens on September 20 to voice their support for the public TAFE system and demand reinstatement of the $300 million slashed from institute funding in the May budget.

The 86-page report outlines proposals to sell off campuses, close courses, increase student fees dramatically, cut jobs and tens of millions of dollars of asset sales.

“The state government must be held accountable for the devastation it has caused at TAFE institutes across Victoria,” AEU Victorian branch president Mary Bluett said.

“The Victorian public understands that the Baillieu government’s budget cuts are not in the interests of young people, the community, TAFE institutes or the Victorian economy.

“The Baillieu government must be accountable to the Victorian public TAFE’s 365,000 students who as a result of their decisions, will now have limited educational opportunities, with many expected to drop out altogether as a result of significant fee increases.

“Regional and rural Victoria have been especially hurt by these cuts. Local MPs, regardless of party allegiances, have a responsibility to do what is right for their community and support their local TAFE institutions.”

Ms Bluett said that the strength of the Victorian economy is based on the skills of its workers and that TAFE provides skills and training to hundreds of thousands of Victorians each year. As a result of these cuts, these numbers will fall and the Victorian economy will suffer.

“We have witnessed an outpouring of support for Victoria’s TAFE institutes from community members, local councils, business, unions, the federal government and many more.

“The message to the Baillieu government is clear – the Victorian public will not take these cuts lying down. The government should be committing to a well-resourced, high quality TAFE sector and encouraging learning, not making it harder for students,” Ms Bluett said.

According to the AEU’s 2012 State of our TAFEs survey:

  • Over 90% of Victorian TAFE teachers believe reforms to Victoria’s VET system have had a negative effect on the quality of teaching and learning at their TAFE.
  • 86% of teachers said they didn’t believe they had the time to support students to the level they require.
  • 63% of teachers said they had noticed a drop in enrolments from their Institute this year.
  • Those teachers who had noticed a drop in enrolments believed higher fees (29%) and ineligibility for government support (26%) were the two main causes.
  • 66% of teachers said they were aware of questionable practices in attracting students to courses at private Registered Training Organisations.  

Next article – People power wins! Super trawler banned – Greenpeace statement

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