Queensland TAFE cuts hit
By Daniel Lambert
BRISBANE — The Borbidge government's $113 million TAFE funding cuts, brought down in the last state budget, are beginning to show their effects as angry students mobilise to fight these attacks on their right to quality education.
When Southbank Institute of TAFE (SIT) returned for second semester, students were told that student support services were to be severely cut, library access reduced and the Cooparoo campus library and the Hospitality College student computer facility closed.
The cuts threaten special programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and disabled students. On July 14 a disability access course coordinated through the CES was axed just three hours after it began, leaving 15 physically and mentally disabled students stranded.
Full fee-paying places across all courses have been earmarked for 1998, resulting in a reduced number of positions for those without the means to pay.
Resistance member Lana Halpin said, "This is yet another attack on the education system by the Coalition, and will greatly disadvantage those least able to pay. Resistance will campaign against it all the way!".
Unemployed Resistance member Bernard Wunsch said, "This is further proof that the government's rhetoric about creating jobs and training places is an absolute farce".
TAFE institutes Australia-wide are being forced to compete with private education providers for a decreasing pool of funds. This makes no allowance for the far broader and much higher standard of education provided at TAFE, and is a direct threat to this standard.