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Victorian women to bear the brunt of Baillieu's TAFE budget cuts

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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

26 September 2012

Victorian women to bear the brunt of Baillieu’s TAFE budget cuts

Women across Victoria will bear the brunt of Liberal Premier Ted Baillieu’s $300 million TAFE cuts, Minister for Skills Senator Chris Evans said today.

A preliminary study by the Victorian TAFE Association reveals the State Government budget cuts will disadvantage women students up to five times as much as men.

The study compares gender enrolment in 20 of the most popular TAFE courses that will be impacted by the funding cuts. Courses with high female enrolments are set to be cut by up to 85 per cent, compared with 6 per cent of male-dominated courses.

According to the new study, women also stand to be financially disadvantaged by the cuts with TAFE fees set to skyrocket for courses popular with females. One of the bigger TAFEs in the state is looking to increase course fees by up to 66 per cent next year, an $800 increase.

“The Victorian Government’s slashes to funding will force TAFEs to hike up fees making it harder for women to access training and enter or re-enter the workforce,” Senator Evans said.

“Courses like hospitality, tourism, children’s services, community services and business administration tend to attract high numbers of women - and will be the courses hardest hit by Premier Baillieu’s short-sighted budget cuts.

“Cutting funding to sectors where skills are in high demand makes no sense. These are industries where we need more trained workers of both genders yet this is exactly where Ted Baillieu has targeted the cuts.

“Mr Baillieu and Mr Abbott are undermining the Gillard Government’s training effort by ripping the heart out of Victoria’s TAFEs at a time when employers are crying out for skilled workers - it’s a very clear warning sign as to what an Abbott Australia would look like.”

The Gillard Government believes all Australians, regardless of gender, should have the opportunity to access the quality training they need to secure employment.

“Australian TAFEs play a vital role in our national training effort and open the door to opportunity. By taking an axe to these essential institutions, the Victorian Liberal Government is as good as slamming that door shut to tens of thousands of Australian women - and that’s just in the next year,” Senator Evans said.

“For women looking to return to work, for single mothers, for women from regional or low SES areas, the Ballieu-driven barriers to training will very likely prove to be insurmountable.

“These are women who could get rewarding work, earn a better wage, and make a valuable contribution to the workforce and to the Victorian economy.”

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603