Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning: Funding

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — The headline on an article in today’s Age is ‘Cuts to VCAL will widen rich-poor gap, says report’. I have always said that this government’s savage cuts to VCAL (Victorian certificate of applied learning) were a savage attack on the futures of children from good, hardworking families, especially those in my electorate
of Narre Warren South.

And now it is here in black and white, with yesterday’s scathing Auditor-General’s report headed Student Completion Rates saying the decision to slash funding for VCAL was ill-advised and not based on evidence. Teachers, unions, parents, students and business councils have always said this. It is time the Minister for Education took notice.

The minister is still saying that schools were consulted. The report says they were not. Our schools were not consulted.

The money was stolen from them with no explanation. The report says the department did not have sufficient evidence to assess the impact of funding changes on the ability to meet the growing demand — read ‘need’ — for VCAL.

Narre Warren South P-12 College, one of the largest providers of VCAL in the state, has had to make drastic changes to keep its VCAL program going, and I applaud its hardworking efforts. The students at the Narre Warren South school need the best VCAL program that can be provided. It is a pathway to a better education and a good job.

The government members should hang their head in shame for deserting these students. All Narre Warren South P-12 College wants for Christmas from the minister is no more mealy-mouthed words, but for the minister to act on this report and reinstate its VCAL funding now.