TAFE Funding

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Education, and it concerns the deplorable funding cuts to our TAFE system and VCAL (Victorian certificate of applied learning) programs. The action I seek is that the minister meet with the secondary school coalition of the outer sub region of the southern metropolitan region, which consists of school council presidents and principals, to discuss their concerns.

Roger Hall, the school council president of Berwick Secondary College, has written on behalf of the school coalition to the minister, requesting that he attend a public meeting on 23 August at Hampton Park Secondary College. Mr Hall told me that at a recent meeting members of the coalition raised concerns about a number of issues that have arisen as a result of the irresponsible and unprecedented cuts by the Baillieu government. He said:

“Concerns particularly focused on the Victorian training guarantee, TAFE funding changes, withdrawal of VCAL coordination funding and the uncertainty of whether VET in Schools funding will remain unchanged.”

 David Finnerty, the principal of Hampton Park Secondary College, also wrote to me to express his condemnation of the slashing of TAFE funding. Mr Finnerty wrote:

“By far the majority of our students find themselves in already extremely challenging socioeconomic circumstances. They and their families simply lack the financial resources, or potential resources, to fund the additional costs that are already starting to flow from the effects of these savage cuts to TAFE funding.”

Mrs Sharon Bradley, a mother of two boys from my electorate, contacted my office just last week to raise her concerns about these cuts. Sharon’s eldest son is undertaking the first year of a cabinet-making apprenticeship; however, he has just been advised that the cost of his course will rise significantly next year. Sharon is very worried about her son’s future, as he is already finding it difficult to make ends meet on first-year apprentice wages.

Sharon’s youngest son is also attempting to complete VCAL; however, the cost of his TAFE course has risen from $60 to $400, and he has been told that he may have to switch schools to continue his course next year. Even if he does switch schools, there is no
guarantee that he will be able to continue with his preferred course. Sharon
asks:

“Why is our government not there to help our students with their next big step in life?”

Unfortunately for Mrs Bradley, her sons and the many affected schools within my electorate, this is a government that just does not care. I ask that the minister meet with the secondary school coalition of the outer subregion of the southern metropolitan region, consisting of schoolouncil presidents and principals, and the parents on 23 August.

It would be a good thing if he turned up.