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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8804

Mr DREYFUS ( Isaacs Cabinet Secretary, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation ) ( 09:40 ): I rise today to express my disappointment at the savage cuts to TAFE and technical education currently being implemented in Victoria. The Baillieu Liberal government is cutting $300 million from TAFE—

Mr Broadbent interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for McMillan is being disorderly.

Mr DREYFUS: at a time when it is more important than ever to invest in technical education. These cuts are so harsh that even the responsible Victorian minister, Peter Hall, said that he considered resigning in protest of his own government's decision. The short-sightedness of these cuts is staggering. Cutting training and technical education at a time when business and manufacturers need skilled workers is a false economy. The estimated job losses for TAFE institutes may be as many as 1,500 positions, with many more across the training sector.

Mr Broadbent interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for McMillan might be heading out of the Federation Chamber if he continues to interject.

Mr DREYFUS: Losing these dedicated and experienced staff members, some of whom have been teaching for decades, is a real blow to the quality of our technical education. As these cuts are implemented and technical education is stripped back to a bare minimum, business may have to look overseas to find the workers that they need. The cuts include the complete removal of the funding differential paid to TAFEs. This funding provided essential community services, support for TAFE's large infrastructure costs and essential training to small rural communities. Funding rates for all training providers have been slashed from between $6.50 and $8 per student hour to less than $2 in courses such as business, hospitality, retail, customer service and event management. The Liberal minister has refused to rule out campus closures.

The savagery of these cuts is a taste of what will happen if the Liberal Party takes power nationally. The Liberals have already announced that they would cut $1.1 billion from trades training centres despite the member for Dunkley, Bruce Billson, apparently supporting the establishment of the Frankston trade training centre, saying, 'I believe the local community is going to benefit greatly from this technical college.' Despite his comments, the member for Dunkley has shamefully voted in this parliament against our government's investment in education and has supported the opposition's cuts to educational programs.

Last week at the local Chisholm TAFE in Frankston, students and teachers rallied against the Baillieu government's savage cuts and called on the local Liberal members of parliament to stand up for their community and support investment in technical education. Chisholm faces cuts to their bottom line of up to $25 million and many courses will be axed. When I visit schools in my electorate I meet bright young students who want to be nurses or electricians or carpenters or business managers, and the Baillieu government's decision is going to make it tougher for them to realise their dreams. The investments in skills and training that our government has made will continue, but it is heartbreaking to see TAFEs in our state damaged by the reckless and short-sighted policies of the Baillieu government and I call on that government to reverse these cuts. (Time expired)