War on TAFE will slow Tasmania’s economic recovery

Statement from AEU Tasmanian Branch TAFE President Simon Bailey on today’s TasTAFE Government announcement:

TODAY’s misguided attack on TasTAFE by the Tasmanian Liberal party is a slap in the face to teachers and regional communities.

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff needs to sit down with teachers and the AEU to explain this ideological attack on Tasmania’s public TAFE.

Wasting money on a war with teachers and communities that depend on TAFE will delay economic recovery and result in diminished training and education.

The PESRAC report was right in pointing out that “training and skills are critical in the context of COVID-19 recovery, and to Tasmania’s social and economic prospects”.

But the government’s plan, rushed in without proper consultation, would only slow our recovery. Is this what the Minister really wants?

Similar TAFE changes in South Australia have resulted in the closure of multiple regional campuses there.

The Government should be investing more, not less in education, but the proposed model would shift the full cost of education onto students and employers.

The Government has shown complete ignorance towards students and the needs of industry while also showing little research and due diligence in the announcement.

TAFE teachers teach to national standards that are developed by industry.

TAFE teachers bend over backwards to meet the needs of industry – courses start onsite at 6am, we work night shifts. Nothing in the proposed arrangements will improve our ability to deliver the flexibility employers want.

Teachers won’t hesitate to defend our public TAFE and fair working conditions, but we would rather be working together with government on a strong training and education-led economic recovery.

The Australian Education Union will work with TAFE members and our communities to see this plan scuttled in the Upper House.

It is baffling that the PESRAC would point to a need for greater VET flexibility when TasTAFE teachers already provide industry-relevant training outside normal work hours.

TAFE leadership recently informed workers that TasTAFE– the 2020 Large Training Provider Winner – was in a stronger position than it’s been in for years.

Members were also told Tasmania has the highest student satisfaction rates nationally and the top apprentice completion rates.

Privatisation is a failed experiment that the Liberal party is hell bent to repeat – how many more rorts and low-quality training outcomes does this Minister want to see?