More than 60 people met in Footscray on October 17 to plan the next steps in the Save TAFE campaign. Community group “Friends of Victoria University” hosted a public forum to discuss the Victorian state government’s $300 million cuts to the TAFE system and its impacts on communities in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Representatives from the National Tertiary Education Union and the Australian Education Union gave greetings to the forum. Annie Nash, — the manager of Flat Out, a support organisation for women exiting prisons — condemned the Ted Baillieu government for slashing TAFE funding while building a new prison.
Former TAFE student and refugee from Southern Sudan, Peter Mum, told the meeting how important TAFE is for migrants and refugees from non-English speaking backgrounds.
TAFE teacher and Friends of VU activist Margarita Windisch spoke about the disastrous result of using market economics for public education. "There should be no taxpayer-funding for private providers whatsoever,” she said.
Greens MLC Coleen Hartland described her personal experience with TAFE and called for a repeal of the budget cuts.
Marsha Thomson, the ALP state member for Footscray, responded to an audience member’s question about her party’s position by saying, “the ALP has no policy on TAFE”.
The meeting also passed a motion to build a campaign to:
• restore full service funding to Victoria University and all public TAFEs
• abolish the policy of full contestability for private providers
• reduce fees and costs of courses for Vocational Education and Training students
• vote the Baillieu government out of office at the next election
[For more details about the campaign, visit “Friends Of VU” on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.]