Last Thursday in Warrnambool a rally organised by TAFE 4 All was held in front of the electorate office of the member for South-West Coast in the Legislative Assembly, Denis Napthine. Students, academics and teachers addressed the crowd, highlighting how their lives will be impacted upon by the cuts to their local TAFE. The following morning the front page of the Warrnambool Standard displayed the headline ‘TAFE cuts hit hard. Thirty courses face axe, fees skyrocket and more jobs to go’. An article on the same page, headed ‘Angry street protest’, claims:
“… chants of ‘save TAFE, sack Ted’ echoed down central Warrnambool yesterday …”
The members of the Warrnambool community were giving a wake-up call to the member for South-West Coast. They know he must not have stepped in or fought for the region or for South West TAFE at the cabinet table. Instead he has chosen to peddle misinformation, citing the need to cut mickey mouse courses. South West TAFE has 54 students in sport and recreation courses. All are employed part time or full time in local industry. It is hardly a mickey mouse course.
One of Warrnambool’s most important employment areas is the retail sector. All certificate II and certificate III business courses that support this important sector have been scrapped. Certificates II in hospitality and agriculture are also in the gun. So much for a commitment to tourism and agriculture in the south-west! Local businesses have been vocal in their complaints about this crazy decision to cut TAFE courses, yet all we have had so far is a mickey mouse response from a mickey mouse government. Shame on it, and that is not in the bin!