Sharon Bird, Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, today challenged Minister Macfarlane to put out a strong message of support for TAFE and send a message to his State colleagues on National TAFE Day.
Around the country we have seen a mean and unfair attack on TAFE from State Liberal Governments which have resulted in higher fees, the loss of jobs, TAFE closures and courses cut.
In Queensland Campbell Newman’s recent Budget means that TAFE will be stripped of their assets, and campuses will now be opened up for use by private for-profit providers and 38 TAFE colleges are under threat of closure.
In Victoria the State Liberal Government has cut more than $300 million – campuses are closing, fees have increased, courses have been cancelled and more than 2,400 people have lost their jobs.
In New South Wales courses are being cut, fees are increasing and campuses are under threat.
TAFE is the backbone of our tertiary education system which has trained our plumbers, electricians, hairdressers, chefs, builders, mechanics and other trades people that we rely on in everyday life.
The Minister says that he supports apprentices but he has taken the axe to abolish over $1 billion from apprenticeship programs such as Tools for Your Trade, the Australian Apprenticeships Access Program, the Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Program and the Apprenticeship to Business owner Program.
Given the Government’s ‘earn or learn’ policy, the Minister needs to talk to his State colleagues to ensure that TAFE continues to be a strong provider of vocational education and training. TAFE is a trusted institution which delivers quality and ensures inclusion and helps to build the skills that our workforce needs to increase participation and productivity.
We need to protect our local TAFEs and today is a great day to promote the important work that our local TAFE colleges do in training the workers of the future and providing a second chance opportunity for people to
undertake further education.
WEDNESDAY, 18 JUNE 2014