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Commonwealth complicit in TAFE crisis.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

SENATOR KIM CARR

Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate

Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Education

 

15 November 1999

 

COMMONWEALTH COMPLICIT IN TAFE CRISIS

 

Victorian Minister Lynne Kosky was to be congratulated for revealing the extent and depth of the crisis facing the State’s TAFE Institutes, said Victorian Labor Senator Kim Carr today.

 

Senator Carr, who is Labor’s Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Education, was commenting on the Minister’s announcement of the results of a State Government audit of its TAFE system, which has found that half of TAFE colleges in Victoria are in serious financial difficulties. Four are on the edge of bankruptcy.

 

“This parlous situation is due both to State Government policies of neglect, and also to the savage attacks on the public TAFE system emanating from Dr Kemp and the Commonwealth,” said Senator Carr. “The State under the Liberals drove down funding to starvation levels. Meanwhile, their friends in the Commonwealth have used the starving Victorian system as a benchmark for other States, forcing them to cut likewise.”

 

Senator Carr said that the Federal Government’s destructive “growth through efficiencies” policy has forced 500,000 extra places out of the system, with no extra funds provided. “There is mounting evidence of a decline in quality as a result,” he said. “This will be a matter for the Senate Inquiry into vocational education and training, instigated by Labor and currently under way.

 

“Cuts to federal TAFE funding, and Dr Kemp’s ideologically-driven policies of relentless competition, have wrought serious damage on our TAFE sector,” he said. “The previous Liberal Minister, Mr Honeywood, connived with Kemp in his attempts to destroy public TAFE provision.”

 

Senator Carr said that the combination of State and Federal Liberal policies had massively undermined the quality of Victorian TAFE provision. “The State Government drove down per-student TAFE funding to crisis levels, and these were subsequently used by the Commonwealth as a benchmark for other States to follow,” he said. “This is a cheap and nasty approach to policy which directly threatens the quality of training available to our young people.

 

“This connivance between Kemp and the Victoria’s former Liberal Government short changed our State’s economy and industry by cutting our vocational education effort and facilities to the bone” he said.

 

Senator Carr said that he intended to pursue the Victorian situation in the forthcoming round of Senate Estimates hearings. “The damage done by the previous Government to Victorian TAFE, cheered on by the Commonwealth, has had severe national repercussions,” he said. “It is up to the Commonwealth and Dr Kemp to take responsibility for this shambles and reverse its short sighted deregulatory policies in vocational education and training.”

 

Further information: Senator Carr 0419 563 922; Jane Nicholls 03 9639 2798

 

 

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