UNIVERSITY of Ballarat representatives yesterday told Federal Skills Minister Chris Evans proposed TAFE cuts would have a devastating impact on the community.
Yesterday in Melbourne, Mr Evans met with education unions and TAFE teachers affected by the Victorian government’s proposed $300 million cuts, which he said would seemore than 550 Victorian jobs lost by July.
“If the Victorian government goes ahead with its training funding cuts, we will not have the skilled workers we need to fill the jobs of tomorrow and employers will be forced to rely more and more on skilled foreign workers,” Mr Evans said.
“I am increasingly being told that Victorian TAFEs will have to increase student fees, cut courses and impose immediate job cuts.
“This would be disastrous for the Victorian families, students and the economy.”
Mr Evans called on the government to reverse the cuts, which Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells described on Tuesday as necessary to keep the TAFE system sustainable.
National Tertiary Education Union branch president at the University of Ballarat, Dr Jeremy Smith, said participants at the meeting had told Mr Evans that local communities, including Ballarat, would suffer from the job losses and reduced training capacity.
“There is probably some responsibility on the federal government to drive the message home to the Victorian government that the cuts are hurting people, particularly in regional Victoria, and they are contrary to the policy directions at the national level,” he said.
“With the consultation process underway and the list of courses to cease in circulation, a lot of people are starting to see the writing on the wall and that is very concerning.”