Higher Education: TAFE Funding
I congratulate everyone who attended the rally in Ballarat last Friday to protest the TAFE funding cuts. No doubt most members would have seen the extensive news coverage of the rally. Disappointingly, like the Treasurer, the Premier refused to look people in the eye and explain why he thinks it is okay to decimate education, to decimate regional TAFE, including in Ballarat, and to decimate our local economy through massive job losses. Like the Treasurer, the Premier had every opportunity to do so; they were just downstairs.
Hundreds of passionate people – people who, unlike the Baillieu government, understand the importance of education for all – gave of their time to express their horror, shock, grief and disgust at these unprecedented cuts and this unprecedented attack on our local community.
I would particularly like to thank the following participants for their support in attempting to save our TAFE: Athan McCaw from the National Tertiary Education Union, Brett Edgington and Paul Clempson from the Ballarat Trades and Labour Council, Erich Sinkis and Greg Barclay from the Australian Education Union, and delegates and members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Health and Community Services Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Australian Nursing Federation, United Voice and all the other unions involved.
The Baillieu government has cut $20 million from TAFE programs at the University of Ballarat, and this will mean that people will lose their jobs and it will reduce learning opportunities in Ballarat. When the Treasurer was in Ballarat a few weeks ago he refused to meet with TAFE staff and students affected by the cuts. He had every opportunity to do so – to defend his decision and his choice; they were just downstairs.