4 November 2011

Students will suffer from the Baillieu Government’s multi-million dollar cut to TAFE and vocational training with possible course cuts, staff losses and escalating fees, State Member for Brunswick, Jane Garrett MP said today.

Jane Garrett said local students were already under pressure with end of year exams and deciding what studies they will do next year without having to worry about if they can get into a course or have to pay higher than expected fees.

“It looks likely that these cuts are on top of the $481 million cuts already made by this Government

“TAFEs have now been forced into deciding how many staff to sack, what facilities to close and what courses they won’t be able to offer local students any more.

“The Baillieu Government promised that no student would be worse off and front line would not be impacted by education budget cuts, but their actions tell a different story.

“These cuts have surprised TAFE and training providers and will have a devastating impact on student skills training, especially apprentices who will be hit with higher fees.”

Ms Garrett said it appeared large metropolitan TAFEs could be $5 – 8 million worse off each year, and regional TAFEs will be $500,000 – 700,000 worse off each year under the Baillieu Government’s latest cuts.

“The Baillieu Government has no commitment to skills education and jobs creation despite calls from business and industry groups for more skilled workers,” Ms Garrett said.

Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Steve Herbert said the Baillieu Government continued to fail in education, with cuts to the Victorian Certificate of Applied Training (VCAL), TAFE and vocational training, apprenticeship subsidies and literacy and numeracy programs.

“Other State Governments are investing in skilled workers while the Baillieu Government is slashing funding that assists students become better skilled employees,” he said.

“The cuts by Mr Baillieu and Higher Education Minister Peter Hall will undoubtedly see fees skyrocket for students and there are serious concerns about student concessions now being axed.”

Mr Herbert said the Baillieu Government’s community consultation as part of the Essential Services Commission review into vocational training was a sham if the Government was making funding decisions before the consultation had started.

“It is inappropriate for Mr Baillieu and Mr Hall to implement changes before they have held promised industry and community consultations into the review.”

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