Mass rally to save TAFE from “social vandalism”: 12 noon Thursday 16 August, State Library of Victoria
A big crowd is expected at today’s Save TAFE rally at the State Library (corner Swanston and Latrobe Streets, Melbourne) with staff and students bussing in from all over the state.
The National Tertiary Education Union and the Australian Education Union have joined forces to organise the protest against the $300 million cuts which will result in thousands of job losses, thousands of students without courses or a future and the closure of at least two campuses.
“The speed and brutality of the Baillieu Government’s cuts to the TAFE budget are on a par with the worst excesses of the Kennett Government”, says Colin Long, the Victorian Division Secretary of the NTEU.
“The $300 million cuts are both crude and clumsy. The public sector is being punished for the rorts of private training providers. Everyone loses – students are being denied an education, especially in regional Victoria, staff is losing jobs and Australia is missing out on the skills it needs to be a smart country.
“For some young people, it will be a ‘go straight to jail, do not pass go’ card – no wonder the State Government is keen to build a new jail in Melton. Spending more than $500 million on a new jail and taking $300 million off the TAFE system has a horrible kind of logic,” he said.
For Max Campbell, who worked at Gippsland TAFE in multimedia production until he was made redundant six weeks ago, the cuts are an act of “social vandalism”.
“The gutting of the TAFE system will impact on families for generations,” he said.
“I have worked at a regional TAFE for the last 20 years and have seen a lot of disadvantaged youth (and adults) transform their lives around through the TAFE system. I have seen mothers in tears thanking teachers for giving their kids the confidence and skills to turn their lives around. Unfortunately, these highly successful youth programs have already been cut from TAFE as they were deemed not profitable.”
Mr Campbell said that the whole community had a vested interest in ensuring that TAFE, as a public institution is accessible and affordable to all.
“Governments need to stop treating people like customers and start treating us as stakeholders in public institutions,” he said.
“TAFE is a ticket to the workforce. Unfortunately, a lot of people won’t realise what they have lost until it is gone.”
Now aged 55, Mr Campbell feels his ticket to the workforce has been pretty much cancelled.
Get ready for the mood for the rally by learning the words of the TAFE-4-ALL Rap (Words and Music by Kevin Hunt © 2012) which will be sung en masse. Go to: http://www.facebook.com/NationalTertiaryEducationUnion
Further information: http://www.nteu.org.au/vic/
Media comment: Colin Long, Victorian Division Secretary, NTEU, 0403 920 361
Max Campbell, former NTEU member at Gippsland TAFE 0434 127 980
More info: Carmel Shute NTEU Media Officer: 0412 569 356