Speech: Higher education: TAFE funding

Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) —

Victoria University is the biggest provider of education in the western suburbs. VU plays an important role in educating young and mature students, disadvantaged students and newly arrived ESL (English as a second language) students in the west.

VU provided me with a second chance at education and an opportunity to earn a professional qualification for the first time at the age of  40, so I know firsthand the benefits of TAFE.  

I visited the university in recent weeks and felt the strong sense of apprehension due to the government’s massive TAFE cuts. Staff and students are justifiably apprehensive.

This week teachers find out if they have lost their jobs. Students will also soon find out if they face fee increases and course closures. For some it will be the end of their educational opportunity.  

Only now will the TAFE community feel the full impact of the cuts; it is going to really hit home. Staff must tell their families that they no longer have a job.  Students will find out that they cannot get that much-needed qualification.

If the government thought the public backlash on this bad decision has been big, now the impacts will be felt, and it will grow.

The Greens will campaign with the community against this government’s terrible attempt to destroy our public TAFE system.

I call on Premier Baillieu to reverse the TAFE funding cuts and support a quality public TAFE system.