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TAFE cuts could cause widespread job losses: minister
24/05/2012 - Victorian tax dollars should be spent on training apprentices to fill the state's skills gap, not aromatherapists, the state government says. Genevieve Gannon
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Victorian Higher Education Minister Peter Hall on Wednesday defended changes to higher education funding which he said provided an additional $1 billion to the sector over four years.
"The Victorian government has an obligation to ensure the record amount of taxpayers' funding going into the training system is spent on areas of greatest need to the state's economy," Hall said.
A government spokesman said the Brumby government's uncapped tertiary funding policy had resulted in massive growth in "courses that led nowhere", leading to an over-supply of people trained in areas such as fitness and aromatherapy.
From 2008 to 2011, enrolments in fitness training courses increased by 1955 per cent, government figures show.
Retail service enrolments jumped 2700 per cent.
Unions and TAFE providers reacted angrily to the changes, which they say rip $290 million from the sector.
Victorian TAFE Association executive director David Williams said 570 teaching and support staff in regional Victoria would be impacted by the cuts, and courses such as hospitality might be withdrawn from regional TAFE providers.
In Melbourne, institutions could cull 60 to 100 courses from a curriculum of 350 to 400, Williams said.
"Some of them will see up to $30 million of their funding removed," he said.
The Victorian TAFE Association Council acknowledged there had been a cost blowout in vocational training in 2011/2012.
Federal Skills Minister Chris Evans said the federal government was trying to put pressure on the Victorian government to reverse their decision, describing the move as a retrograde step that would prompt widespread job losses.
"Anyone with any knowledge of training in Victoria knows it's a very retrograde step," Evans said.
"The bean counters in Treasury have got control of this and they've taken no account of the educational impacts."
He also raised concerns the funding cuts breached a COAG agreement to lift the skill level of the Australian workforce.
But Hall said Victoria would meet all its training obligations under the COAG agreement.
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Lou Furbadamo | 24/05/2012 03:42 1
It’s about time all Government bean counters in this country pulled their fingers out and started doing their job at least to a semblance of properly. To have permitted the revealed outrageous, educational waste and flippant misallocation of resources, endeavour and intellect in allsorts of innocuous, useless training and bureaucratic, unsustainable, feel good ventures. Is atrocious governance and gross travesty of lost opportunity and accountability? Sadly while the productive Industries providing the taxes to fund such arrogant waste and irrelevance are desperately calling for many more skilled workers. Nonsense bureaucrats and unions are effectively ignoring them by diverting resources into petty non productive pansy waffle niches. In addition to the aromatherapy highlighted, I’m surprised they don’t have a supplementary advanced course on toilet therapy; after all they share an affinity for the importance of smell and products best flushed down the gurgler? Rightfully then, students who want to pursue such dubious, feel good luxurious "professions and rort training”, should do so on their own account and not the tax payer’s. I’m surprised any sensible person or politician would have the audacity to continue supporting such blatantly irresponsible, waste of public money. The Senator should contemplate good Government strategies and admirable education objectives for the Australian workforce. Instead of absurdly pandering to groups, who’ve little or no affinity to key industry and employment requirements, self sustainability and responsible funding accountably. Incredibly, rather than question whether “funding cuts breached a COAG agreement to lift the skill level”. He should be responsibly concerned with how COAG could possibly consider such bullshit courses as appropriate training and commendable skills and assets acquisition priority, ahead of the far more demanded productive trades which have been allowed to languish and severely drain. He might even address the relevance, effectiveness and benefit of the “COAG wankfests” altogether and really save the country some money!
Garry in Mildura | 24/05/2012 11:04 2
The Victorian Government has done the wrong thing in slashing funding for TAFEs. The effect on all trades will be felt for many years for no real reason, because Victoria has the money - in fact we're in great shape financially. Not only are they lying about the actual reasons for this slash & burn, they throw in the usual spin of blaming the previous government. I'm a swinging voter, but this mob are taking the State backwards, just when they should be investing for the future.
Goldie | 24/05/2012 11:31 3
When will some people get the fact that most if not all states are broke or well on the way to being so and continuing to spend what we have not yet earned is a recipe for disaster. Yes it is important how we got into this situation and we must learn from it but what is even more important is we spend what we have on priorities and not the feelgood stuff. Also COAG will never be anything because all the states are too self interested to be bothered about the greater good and that goes for receipts as well as expenditure.
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