"Victoria needs a well-funded, public TAFE system. Our proven and respected public TAFEs were built up over decades with taxpayers’ money and have educated hundreds of thousands of Victorians based on the principle of affordable and accessible training for all”, said Victorian Greens education spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik .
"Today on National TAFE Day, it is important to draw attention to the damage that is being done to our pubic TAFEs here in Victoria”, Ms Pennicuik said.
"The introduction of 'market contestability' under the previous Labor government, saw a budget blow out and millions of dollars of public money siphoned into private training companies, with wide-spread reports of rorting and substandard training, leaving students in the lurch”, Ms Pennicuik said.
"The current Liberal / National government has expanded the market model and has cut an estimated $300 million from the TAFE system per year. This has been devastating for TAFE, resulting in course and campus closures and mergers across Victoria, the loss of thousands of staff and fee hikes and loss of opportunity for students”.
"In 2011, the Coalition government also removed the funding that allows TAFE institutes to fulfil their student and community service obligations and negotiated staff pay rates. This means that TAFEs now find it difficult or impossible to provide the student welfare and other services that they currently do and that the private providers are not required to", Ms Pennicuik said.
Today, the Australian Senate passed a Greens' motion calling on the Abbott government to reverse the harsh budget cuts to TAFE and to abandon changes that undermine TAFE as a public provider.
Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the motion was moved to mark National TAFE Day, with similar motions being moved in state and territory Parliaments around the country. The failure of the current competitive funding model, implemented by both Labor and Coalition governments was repeatedly raised in the recent Greens initiated Senate inquiry into TAFE.
Thousands of TAFE jobs across the country have already been slashed as a result of this privatisation agenda, and there have been enormous fee increases, putting TAFE out of reach for many prospective students.
Greens MPs in state parliaments around Australia have given notice of similar motions, calling on state governments to stop gutting TAFE through budget cuts and for an end to the diversion of substantial public funding from TAFE to private for-profit training providers.
"I have listed a motion in state parliament calling on all parties to guarantee funding for TAFEs based on the actual costs of providing education and training, to ensure that the entitlement to a guaranteed training place is only offered at TAFE and not restricted to selected qualifications or industries, that all VET providers are adequately monitored and audited, and that every provider seeking registration provides vocational education and training as its primary purpose”, Ms Pennicuik said.
“It is vital that TAFE continue its historic role in providing high quality technical and further education to Australians of all ages and backgrounds and from all communities including regional Australia”.
"In order to restore the public TAFE system to primacy as the provider of Vocational Education and Training in Victoria, the failed market contestability experiment introduced by Labor and continued by the Coalition government needs to be abandoned", Ms Pennicuik said.
For further comment contact Sue Pennicuik – 03 9530 8399