18 June 2014
The Australian Senate today 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 proposed $1.5 billion in cuts to VET will have disastrous impacts on TAFE staff and students in a sector that has already been severely undermined by successive Coalition and Labor governments," said Senator Rhiannon.
"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.
"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.
"The stories I heard of how vital TAFE is range from giving a young vision impaired refugee from Ghana the ability to learn Australian sign language and get a job in that field to retraining a man who had become quadriplegic as a design instructor.
"As a result of huge funding cuts to TAFE both these men would no longer receive assistance to follow their TAFE pathway that delivered the training and work they wanted.
"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.
"The Greens are calling for guaranteed funding for public TAFEs based on the real costs of providing education including delivery to students in rural and remote areas as well as for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with a disability.
"The Coalition is on a war path with public higher education in Australia and this is going to have irreversible consequences for generations to come," said Senator Lee Rhiannon.
Greens TAFE motion passed by the Senate on 18 June 2014
a)National TAFE day will be held on 18 June this year;
b)The proposed cuts to TAFE budgets across Australia will have disastrous impacts on staff and students and Australia's economic future and social well-being;
c)The changes to TAFE are adversely impacting regional, rural and disadvantaged communities and people with varying abilities;
d)The Senate inquiry into TAFE unearthed widespread concerns across industries and interests about the quality of education and training provided through the private VET market.
2.Calls on the federal and state governments to:
a)Reverse the harsh budget cuts to TAFE and to abandon changes proposed to vocational education and training that undermine TAFE as a public provider;
b)Review the current competitive tendering model of government funding as it impacts on TAFE.
c)Support and expand the capacity of the public TAFE system to allow it to continue its historic role providing high quality technical and further education to Australians of all ages and backgrounds;
d)Properly recognise the importance of TAFE in providing vocational and technical education in areas of high and low demand, in rural and remote areas and in supporting access and participation for disadvantaged learners;
e)Work collaboratively to develop a national workforce strategy for the TAFE sector.
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