Thousands set to join rally to save TAFE staff stop work across Victoria
Joint media release from NTEU & AEU
TAFE staff across Victoria are expected to stop work today, with thousands set to join a rally in Melbourne to protest against the Baillieu Government's $300 million cuts to the public TAFE system.
The Australian Education Union and National Tertiary Education Union have called on TAFE members to stop work for 24 hours today, following the leaking of cabinet-in-confidence documents revealing the State Government’s cuts have left some of Victoria’s TAFE institutes on the brink of collapse.
AEU Victorian Branch President Mary Bluett said the Baillieu Government must take responsibility for the destruction caused to TAFEs across Victoria and immediately reinstate the $300 million it has cut from the Victorian public TAFE system.
“The fight to preserve Victoria’s TAFE system has reached a crucial stage. We call on TAFE staff, students and concerned community members to join the rally today and show the Baillieu Government that the Victorian public wants these cuts reversed.
“Our members do not take industrial action lightly but with some TAFEs close to collapse, jobs being lost, fees increasing and courses closing, this action is necessary to preserve the institutions they work for.
“If the Baillieu Government does not reverse its short-sighted policies, it will deny a generation of young Victorians the chance to get the skills they need to be part of the modern workforce.
"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,” Ms Bluett said.
NTEU Victorian Secretary, Dr Colin Long said that the leaked documents point to a bleak future of privatisation and sell-offs.
“The Baillieu Government has no right or mandate to destroy these vital public institutions. Our members feel that they have a moral duty to defend public education in the face of the most vicious attack on education in the history of this state,” he said.
“We can now see that the cuts will also flow through to the university sector with campus closures and potential mergers on the cards for institutions like Swinburne University of Technology and La Trobe University.
“The cuts close off pathways from TAFE to university for many disadvantaged kids. They’re putting a whole generation at risk,” Dr Long said.
Victorian TAFE staff, students and community members will rally at Treasury Gardens.
Date: Today, Thursday September 20, 2012
Time: 12 noon
Location: Treasury Gardens (2 – 18 Spring Street, Melbourne)
AEU Victorian Branch President, Mary Bluett and NTEU Victorian Secretary, Dr Colin Long (040320 361) are available for comment.
For all media enquiries, please contact Stephanie De Campo on 0432 828 004