Geelong community spoils Premier’s media stunt with call to save local TAFE
TAFE staff, students and community members will protest the Baillieu Government's $300 million cuts to the public TAFE system and rally outside a business conference in Geelong that the Premier will address today.
12 noon, Friday 19 October - Mercure Hotel, Corner Gheringheap & Meyers Street, Geelong
The AEU and National Tertiary Education Union are supporting today's rally organised by a local Geelong community group.
AEU TAFE vice president Greg Barclay said it was disgraceful that the Premier is addressing today's business conference while slashing millions of dollars in funding from the local TAFE.
"The Baillieu Government's $14.6 million in funding cuts to Gordon TAFE equates to around 21% of its budget.
"These cuts will have massive repercussions throughout local business and industry.
"The Baillieu Government's TAFE cuts are denying local community members the chance to get the skills they need to be part of the modern workforce.
"There have been major job losses in Geelong in recent months and yet the Baillieu Government is cutting off pathways and limiting local worker's ability to retrain or upskill.
"Gordon TAFE is an important part of the community, with campuses in Geelong City, East Geelong and Colac and yet they have had millions of dollars slashed from their budget.
"The strength of the Victorian economy is based on the skills of its workers. 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.
"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," Mr Barclay said.
NTEU Victorian secretary Colin Long said every day the Baillieu government continues to ignore the community's demands to save TAFE means more jobs lost, more courses cut, more young people excluded from education and training.
"The market-driven VET system in Victoria has led to budget blow-outs, lower quality training, a reduction in the number of courses available, and higher costs to students.
"By any measure – except if privatisation of TAFE is your goal – it has been a complete failure.
"VECCI should be aware that the Baillieu government is creating a skills black hole that will affect businesses and the economic wellbeing of the state for years to come," Dr Long said.
AEU Victorian Branch Vice President (TAFE), Greg Barclay and NTEU Victorian Secretary, Dr Colin Long are available for comment.
For AEU media enquiries, please contact Stephanie De Campo on 0432 828 004
For NTEU media enquiries, please contact Colin Long, Victorian Division Secretary, NTEU, 0403 920 361 or Carmel Shute, Media officer, on 0412 569 356.