23 November 2012
Opposition leader Daniel Andrews stated “as all Victorians deserve the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to secure employment [to] provide a future for themselves and their families”, funding TAFE will be Labor’s first budget priority, with additional funding coming from savings obtained from the crack down on unscrupulous providers.
According to Andrews
…students in country towns, people from low socio-economic backgrounds or those who require literacy and numeracy help will all have access to affordable high quality training…TAFEs will, once again, be able to offer essential support services to students that need them without having to raise fees or cut courses. It will also allow schools to reinstate slashed VET programs so young Victorians, who rely on an alternative to VCE, have a link between school and vocational education.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has welcomed the announcement but says it doesn’t go nearly far enough – or provide details of proposed funding.
It says toughening up on rorting private training providers and providing funding TAFEs to set-up Industry Skills Centres would be positive initiatives. However, the NTEU expressed disappointment that the ALP’s announcement is silent on funding for TAFE and the vital issue of campus closures
Victorians need to know if funding will be restored under a future Labor Government. Most people know that Swinburne University of Technology will close its Prahran and Lilydale campuses as a result of the funding cuts but up to 35 campuses overall could shut. Some like the Kyneton campus of Bendigo TAFE have already closed with others such as Victoria University’s Newport campus to shut up shop by the end of the year. Students need local TAFEs – they should not be forced to haveto travel vast distances or move to study.