Greens MP for the Western Suburbs, Colleen Hartland, launched the ‘Rescue TAFE in the West’ Report today. The Greens used the report to call on the Napthine Government to reinstate the funding cuts to TAFE Institutes in Melbourne's western suburbs to provide re-skilling opportunities to the thousands of Western Suburbs manufacturing workers set to lose their jobs.
"With the loss of many manufacturing jobs in the Western Suburbs, we need our public TAFEs to provide re-skilling opportunities more than ever," said Colleen Hartland.
"It is heartless and wrong-headed to cut $40 million per annum from Victoria University when there is such great need for quality re-skilling opportunities in the West. This is the equal highest cut to any TAFE in Victoria."
"The academic year is beginning and we know that many people are missing out on TAFE education opportunities as a result of the government's cuts."
"This report has found that enrolled students are doing it tough as they struggle with the everyday cost of basics such as food and transport and they are concerned about accumulating debt and the state of their finances."
"Students reported sacrificing meals, taking on increased work-loads, and not keeping up with rent and bills. They have also indicated they are enticed by private providers who are able to undercut TAFEs by providing lower fees.”
"Private providers do not have the same obligations to student wellbeing, community capacity-building, and social justice, that public TAFE providers do. Furthermore, reports have also shown private providers rorting the system and cheating students of the high standard of education and training offered by TAFEs."
"The cuts are a devastating blow for current and potential students, and the Western Suburbs economy. Investing in TAFE in the western suburbs is essential for people to move into skilled employment," said Ms Hartland.
Report Title: TAFE cuts hurt the West: a case for reinstating funding and abolishing the market contestability model.
Authored by: Sarah Sheppard, RMIT Social Work Research and Social Policy Placement Student.
The Report makes the following recommendations for State Government:
· Reinstate funding to the annual TAFE budget.
· A return to a VET funding model that prioritises public TAFE institutes as the primary VET providers in Victoria.
· A parliamentary inquiry into alleged training rorts by private registered training organisations (RTO) in Victoria.
· A full structural review of the funding model to deliver a more equitable outcome for all students as proposed by the Victorian TAFE Association.