Minister for Skills and Higher Education Peter Hall today expressed the Government’s disappointment that institutions, the Victorian TAFE Association and education unions have supported their employees and members to disrupt the training of students by encouraging them to reschedule classes in order to attend today’s rally.
The Victorian Government has announced an extra $1 billion over the next four years for the training system. Much of this money will go to better support courses that provide higher level training such as apprenticeships, particularly in areas of skills shortages. or areas that make an important contribution to the Victorian economy and Victorians’ chances of gaining meaningful employment.
The Government is increasing subsidies in these important areas, while reducing subsidies in areas of over-supply or that don’t necessarily lead to positive employment outcomes, such as fitness training and some lifestyle courses.
These changes are aimed at ensuring the Victorian training system is sustainable and the Government invests taxpayers’ funds wisely in developing a strong state economy and jobs for Victorians.
“The Victorian Coalition Government’s record additional $1 billion investment in training in the Budget will refocus training in Victorian to create a high quality, industry driven, sustainable training system”, Mr Hall said.
“The union movement needs to take a long hard look at itself before claiming the government is destroying TAFE. As part of our reforms, we are freeing up TAFEs from the archaic industrial conditions forced upon them by Labor and their union mates.”
Under the current statewide agreement for TAFE teachers all teachers are ‘entitled’ to one ‘non-attendance’ day per week where they are ‘not required to attend’ the workplace.
“This agreement is an albatross around the neck of our public training providers and as part of our Refocusing Vocational Training in Victoria reforms we are supporting TAFEs to negotiate agreements which are modern and meet their local workforce needs,” Mr Hall said.
“Quality TAFE teachers are the backbone of the public training system but undue union influence is detrimental to a cost-effective, responsive and outcomes-focused system,” Mr Hall said.
Any claims about what the changes to funding arrangements might mean for TAFE staff numbers and courses are premature and speculative.