The Victorian TAFE Association will take its fight to the federal government in the hopes of rolling back the drastic funding cuts outlined in last week’s state budget.
The move follows the outrage over the state government’s decision to slash $300 million from the TAFE sector.
Victorian TAFE Association executive director David Williams said the massive cuts in the budget called for an urgent response from both Federal Skills Minister Chris Evans and the Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten
Three unions have joined in the battle and the community is being asked to show their support and join others to rally against the government’s funding cuts to TAFE.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Australian Education Union (AEU) have slammed the Baillieu government’s decision to cut funding.
AEU Victorian branch president Mary Bluett said the government’s decision would lead to thousands of job losses, campus and course closures and fee rises for students.
“It is unacceptable that the state government is denying many of Victoria’s most vulnerable people access to the education they need,” Ms Bluett said.
“We will not take these cuts lying down.
“We urge the community to show their support for our public TAFE teachers and students by attending a public rally next Thursday.”
Ms Bluett said TAFE funding must be reinstated as an urgent priority.
AMWU assistant state secretary Leigh Diehm said there had been thousands of redundancies in the manufacturing area in recent months and its members relied on TAFE training to get back into the workforce.
“We want to see kids, people in Victoria, trained up so they can get into other employment, not import skilled labour from overseas,” Mr Diehm said.
NTEU Victorian secretary Colin Long said thousands of workers were facing unemployment, and the government’s response was to spend $1 billion on new prisons and close TAFEs.
“Not only does this government lack a clear plan for tackling the state’s skills crisis, it appears intent on destroying one of the key solutions to it, our public TAFE system,” Dr Long said.
“At least when someone goes to a public TAFE they can be sure they have high quality teachers, they have libraries, student support and the infrastructure to give them a proper education.
“The same can’t be said for many of the qualifications obtained in the private sector where, in some cases, quality can be dubious.”