Last Thursday the Geelong community told the Baillieu government in no uncertain terms that it will not get away with its systematic destruction of Victoria’s TAFEs. Over 1200 people attended the rally outside the Gordon Institute of TAFE, with many students and teachers addressing the crowd and communicating their anger at the government’s decision to rip $290 million out of the TAFE system.
For more than an hour TAFE students, teachers and a number of community leaders, as well as many residents who did not necessarily have a direct connection with the Gordon but understood the importance of the Gordon to Geelong, shouted in support. Students currently completing a range of courses spoke about their opportunities at the Gordon, what the Gordon has given them and the enormous benefits TAFE has meant for their livelihoods.
Building design student Katie Davenport explained her contempt for the decision by saying:
“It’s not just the young ones who are affected. I have three kids at home and our budget is tight enough …
“Now they want to increase the fees …
“… TAFE gives me the opportunity I wouldn’t normally have.”
The Geelong community and its business leaders have stated time and again, and it is further reinforced in this morning’s Geelong Advertiser, that ripping $14.6 million out of the Gordon will have a disastrous impact on the lives of many residents in the area and a disastrous impact on the local economy — an economy that needs to be vigilant on how it transitions into the future.
The hostility in Geelong over these cuts will not be forgotten at the 2014 state election.