Ideology ahead of constituents’ interests at Kingston Council’s TAFE vote, union says
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) says that the defeat this week (24 September) of a resolution opposing cuts at Holmesglen TAFE showed that some Kingston City councillors put ideology ahead of their constituents’ interests.
Dr Colin Long, the Victorian Division Secretary of the NTEU and a resident of the City of Kingston, said the resolution opposed the loss of jobs (65 full-time teaching positions, 25 contract and session staff and a further 24 administrative and support staff positions) and called for the council to write to the Baillieu Government asking for it to reverse its “unprecedented decision” to cut the training and salary budgets of TAFEs across Victoria.
“Holmesglen TAFE, which has a campus located within the City of Kingston, will cease to offer courses in business, business administration, advertising, engineering, legal practice, professional writing and ceramics and has put other courses on notice. Fees will go up by 102% but even more worrying is Holmesglen’s intention to privatise its operations by ‘buying out’ the State Government,” he said.
“It was a shame that a majority of councillors did not see fit to support the resolution opposing the TAFE cuts. Instead some councillors put support for the Liberal Government ahead of the needs of local residents and, most especially, the future education and job prospects of young people.”
The resolution, which was moved by Cr Rosemary West and seconded by Cr Trevor Shewan, was split into seven parts requiring seven different votes. It also received the support of Cr Steve Staikos and Cr Arthur Athanasopoulos, bringing the ‘for’ vote up to four. Four voted against – Cr Paul Peulich, Cr Ron Brownlees, Cr Lewis Dundas and Cr John Ronke – with the mayor, Cr Ronke, using his casting vote to defeat six parts of the resolution. (Cr Dan Moloney was absent.)
The seventh clause endorsing “any activities by the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association” was carried but Cr Peulich subsequently moved a rescission motion which won’t be voted upon until 22 October just before council elections.
Cr West said that the councillors who supported the resolution were extremely concerned about the loss of jobs and training places at Holmesglen TAFE.
“Holmesglen TAFE is critical to the long-term future of the manufacturing sector in the City of Kingston. Young people need to train locally at Holmesglen or nearby Chisholm TAFE to keep manufacturing going – not to mention secure their own futures,” she said.
“Boat-building is significant in Kingston but now that the last TAFE boat building course – the one offered by Victoria University TAFE – has got the chop it’s likely that the industry itself could be scuttled. Where are we going to get the people to service industry as a whole?”
Holmesglen TAFE stands to lose $28 million in funding as a result of the Baillieu Government’s $290 million cut to TAFE funding.
Media comment: Colin Long, Division Secretary, NTEU Victoria, 0403 920 361
More info: Carmel Shute NTEU Media Officer: 0412 569 356