More job losses ahead at Swinburne TAFE

Swinburne Univeristy has today confirmed some TAFE teachers will not have their fixed-term contracts renewed and some casual staff could lose work in addition to the 240 job redundancies already announced.

These additional job losses come as hundreds of students rallied at Swinburne’s Lilydale campus today to protest against its closure.

Last month the university announced 120 TAFE teachers and 120 general staff would lose their jobs and TAFE courses in hospitality, recreation and tourism would be slashed from the university’s offerings.

In a statement to City Journal the university said projected revenue for 2013 was $35 million less than expected following the State Government cut of $300 million to TAFE funding in Victoria.

“As a consequence, Swinburne needs to reduce the number of TAFE courses that we teach and this subsequently impacts on resourcing,” the statement said.

“Swinburne will also need to reduce its costs across its operations to reflect this reduced revenue in 2013 and thereafter.

“Some fixed term contracts will not be renewed and there will be rationalisation of the use of casual staff.”

Lilydale TAFE teacher Gage Rossiter said he expected to lose staff in his department.

“In actual fact we will lose so many more than 120 teachers at Swinburne,” Mr Rossiter said.

“There’s five contract teachers in my department and five full-time teachers.

“So if my job is made redundant, as a full-time teacher I will get a pay-out, but these other teachers won’t.

“They could come in on [any] Monday and be told they’re out of work.”

Lilydale campus students and teachers were this morning calling on other university students to join the march to local Liberal minister Christine Fyffe’s office to submit a letter asking her to fight for higher education in Lilydale.

Diploma of Liberal Arts student Amie Watson has been at Swinburne University’s Lilydale campus for two years. While her course isn’t facing the axe, she knows friends who will move to other campuses or shift into online courses.

“Lilydale campus services the whole of the outer east. I’m from Healesville so travelling to Hawthorn, the next closest campus, takes an hour and a half,” she said.

“There really is a lot of frustration and anger around campus. The fact that this happened during holidays means that some students are only just finding out.”

Rallies across Victoria

Students gather at RMIT University's city campus in protest against TAFE cuts. Photo: Freya Cole.

Rallies at RMIT University’s city campus and Chisholm TAFE in Frankston this week drew supporters from across inner city Melbourne.

The Lilydale campus rally is the final ahead of the National Tertiary Education Union’s (NTEU) last planned protest next Thursday on the lawns of the Victorian State Library.

View TAFE protests Victoria in a larger map

NTEU head of Victoria Colin Long said he hopes the protests will ignite other community campaigns.

“Most stand-alone TAFEs don’t have their own student associations…students need to rally and remember that even if their TAFE course is not cut this will still mean increases to all TAFE fees.”

Related coverage

Commonwealth slams Victorian TAFE cuts

Pick up your copy of City Journal newspaper on August 27 around inner city Melbourne for extensive coverage of next week’s TAFE rally.

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Nikita McInnes