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Chisholm students and staff speak up against Baillieu's savage TAFE 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

LAURA SMYTH MP Federal Member for La Trobe


26 September 2012

Chisholm students and staff speak up against Baillieu’s savage TAFE cuts

Students and staff at Chisholm TAFE’s Berwick campus have today spoken out against the Baillieu Government’s severe cuts to the Victorian training system.

Federal Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, and Federal Member for La Trobe, Laura Smyth MP, today visited Chisholm TAFE’s Berwick campus to launch a petition against the Baillieu Government’s $300 million cuts to TAFE across Victoria.

“Documents now available reveal Premier Baillieu’s budget cuts will mean more job cuts, a significant reduction in student hours and a hike in course fees,” Ms Smyth said.

“The cuts mean a 24 per cent reduction in Chisholm TAFE’s annual revenue.

“Chisholm is an essential local training provider that gives our local young people the chance to get the skills they need to access employment and Mr Baillieu’s decision completely undermines that effort.”

Ms Smyth said communities in the south east of Melbourne are continuing to bear the brunt of the TAFE cuts announced by the Baillieu Government in the May State Budget.

“Last month it was Swinburne’s announcement of the closure of Lilydale Campus and the loss of 240 jobs and this month we have heard formally of 220 jobs to be cut across Chisholm TAFE—all directly attributable to Ted Baillieu’s TAFE cuts,” Ms Smyth said.

“Make no mistake. This is the Baillieu Government’s TAFE cuts in action. The stupidity of these funding cuts is now becoming fully apparent.

“These cuts will cause long-lasting damage to the Victorian education system, particularly for those who are most at risk of leaving the school system early without proper skills and training.

“I know how hard TAFEs like Chisholm are working to maintain courses for students despite these cuts and they have my full support,” Ms Smyth said.

Senator Evans said Ted Baillieu is compromising the training and the futures of thousands of young Victorians with the support of Tony Abbott.

“We know that skills are the passport to a better future, a higher pay, a more rewarding career, and it is Victorians who are paying the price for the Liberals’ short sightedness,” Senator Evans said.

“Ted Baillieu is closing facilities that for many communities are the only places local people can get a vocational education or learn a trade.

“It reflects what is happening by Liberal governments in New South Wales and Queensland where we’re seeing a similar attack on education services, and Tony Abbott is out there endorsing their actions.”

Ms Smyth has condemned the cuts in Federal Parliament on behalf of local TAFEs and is calling on the Baillieu Government to reverse its decision.

“I raised this issue in the Federal Parliament because I know the level of community concern,” Ms Smyth said.

“Employers, the Victorian Farmers Federation, unions, students, teachers and local councils have all expressed their concern.

“Only Ted Baillieu and Tony Abbott think these cuts are a good idea.”

The Federal Government has invested $224 million in Victorian TAFEs over the last four years to upgrade facilities and equipment in 19 institutions across 37 campuses. This is on top of the $360 million funding provided on average each year.

Under the COAG agreement reached with the States in April, the Commonwealth has offered Victoria $435 million to support reforms to the VET system to improve quality and transparency.

The recent government report on TAFE transitional plans is available on the AEU website

Senator Evans’ media contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603 Laura Smyth’s media contact: Howard Burrowes 03 9796 1788 or 0419 359 096