Posted on 23. May, 2012 in News
Premier Ted Baillieu has today refused to rule out the closure of dozens of TAFE campuses across Victoria as a result of his $290 million cuts to the sector.
In parliament question time today, Mr Baillieu was asked whether he could guarantee that no TAFE campus would close because of his cuts to TAFE. He failed to rule closures out.
Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Skills Steve Herbert said while TAFE CEOs were making tough decisions about how they would cope with their dwindling finances, Mr Baillieu seemed to be simply refusing to acknowledge what impact the cuts were having.
“Education in Victoria is going backwards under Ted Baillieu and his refusal to rule out TAFE campus closures will worry students and teachers across the state,” Mr Herbert said.
“Students and staff are increasingly concerned about whether or not their local TAFE will be open, will it continue to offer the same courses, and will courses be affordable,” Mr Herbert said.
“The Premier refused to rule out campus closures or show some understanding about how these cuts were impacting staff and teachers.
“And the Premier’s refusal comes on the very same day the Federal Minister, Chris Evans, was outlining his concern regarding Mr Baillieu’s TAFE cuts in the strongest manner possible to Victorian TAFE directors.”
Mr Herbert said the most vulnerable campuses were in country Victoria and the impact of any closures would be severe.
“The Baillieu Government either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about how important TAFEs are in regional Victoria,” Mr Herbert said.
“Often a regional TAFE campus is the only educational provider for local residents to undertake further study or training close to home. If the local TAFE campus shuts down, it will mean residents won’t have access to important training opportunities.
“At a time when Victoria is in the midst of a jobs crisis, cutting people’s access to education and training is short-sighted.
“These unprecedented cuts to Victorian education and training are taking Victoria backwards.”