Privatisation of TAFE will drive a stake through the heart of education in Victoria, union says
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) says that buried in yesterday’s leaked TAFE cabinet documents is a small reference to Homesglen TAFE’s preferred model “premised on buying out the State Government’s ownership of the institution”.
Dr Long, the Victorian Division Secretary of the NTEU, said he feared that Homesglen TAFE’s plans could represent the face of the future for the TAFE sector in Victoria and be the start of the Baillieu Government divesting itself of responsibility for TAFE.
“Is the real agenda of the Baillieu Government the privatisation of TAFE, a publicly-owned asset? Many of the courses traditionally offered by TAFE have already been hived off to private training providers, often with disastrous results – shonky courses with certificates and diplomas not worth the paper they’re printed on,” Dr Long said.
“Privatisation of the publicly-owned TAFE system will drive a stake through the heart of education in Victoria.”
Dr Long accused the Baillieu Government of abandoning a whole generation of young people.
“With these further cuts, campus closures and sell-offs, tens of thousands of young people now have their lifeline to skills, jobs and better futures abruptly severed, particularly in Melbourne’s West and regional Victoria. Industry groups trumpet that Australia’s future relies on a skilled workforce but the Baillieu government is deaf to these arguments,” he said.
“It would rather resort to what recent conservative governments do best – punishing the public sector for the rorts of private training providers – and engaging in some old fashioned class warfare so that working class and regional students yet again miss out.
“The Baillieu Government can find $500 million+ to build a new prison but it is ripping $290 million out of TAFE budgets which means fewer, more expensive courses, campus closures and up to 10,000 people, many of them casual or contract, losing their jobs. Victoria is still paying the price for the Kennett Government’s closure and sale of schools back in the nineties. These TAFE cuts will be even more destructive in the long-term.”
Dr Long called on the Opposition to commit to reversing the cuts and campus closures.
“The ALP keeps on saying it won’t commit to anything until it has a fully-costed proposal sometime in 2013. Now that the true extent of the cuts has been revealed, it’s time that the ALP comes clean with its position. There’s widespread outrage against these cuts and the Baillieu Government may last only one term. The ALP needs to make any commitments sooner, rather than later,” he said.
Dr Long said that NTEU members were affronted by the lack of consultation about the size and nature of the cuts and campus closures by most TAFEs and the TAFE sector as a whole.
“TAFEs have given their plans for cuts and closures to the Baillieu Government but most have not had the decency to consult either the NTEU or the Australian Education Union. It adds insult to injury,” he said.
Media comment: Colin Long, Division Secretary, NTEU Victoria, 0403 920 361
More info: Carmel Shute NTEU Media Officer: 0412 569 356