The Federal Government has publicly criticised the Baillieu government for its $300 million funding cuts for Victorian TAFE yesterday in a forum for students and their families.
Minister for Tertiary Education Chris Evans said the Commonwealth was committed to help fund TAFE institutions, but not if the State Government continued to make severe funding cuts.
“They are savage. They are immediate and they are destroying courses and people’s life opportunities,” he said.
“We’re not going to reward Victoria for running down its TAFE system and denying opportunity to students.”
Mr Evans said the Commonwealth did not want to punish TAFE in Victoria by reducing its funding, but will not continue unless an agreement is made with the State Government.
“The Baillieu government has ripped a massive amount of the system which means it is contracting.
“Courses are being reduced, campuses are closing, teachers are made redundant and students are being hurt,” he said.
Students with disabilities feel a loss of morale
Mr Evans spoke with current TAFE students yesterday in Melbourne about the recent cuts to disability services in schools.
“TAFE has been a place where people with disabilities have been welcomed and supported properly,” Mr Evans said.
“The cutbacks to disability support are very worrying for them and quite frankly, will cut a lot of those people out of education opportunities.”
Nina Cleary is currently studying a Diploma of Community Services at the Gordon Institute of TAFE in Geelong.
She said she needed the services that helped her with assignment writing and research to successfully complete her diploma.
“It has put a lot more stress and strain on individuals who are turning up to class and not knowing whether it is going to be cut, “ she said.
Worried parents speak out for their children’s future
Mother of two TAFE students, Leanna Flaherty, said she is concerned for her children’s future if they were unable to finish their courses.
“My son wasn’t someone who took to education well, so when he found something that he actually wanted to do it was a bonus,” she said.
“You lose a degree of your morality when you don’t know what is happening with your future,” she said.
Mrs Flaherty, who lives in Victoria’s Gippsland area, said TAFE was the only option for higher education for many people living in regional and rural areas.
>> Listen to the full interview with the Minister for Tertiary Education.
>> For full coverage of TAFE Rallies across Melbourne pick up a copy of our newspaper coming out August 27.