Four years of savage cuts to our TAFE system under the coalition government left South West TAFE on its knees and in deficit. However, the staff and management of this great institution are celebrating once again after the Andrews Labor government committed $4 million in rescue funding last week.
Under the coalition government funding was slashed, courses were axed, staff numbers were cut and students were made to pay significantly higher fees. This left many young Victorians without the option of going to TAFE and left industries searching for trained workers. What the coalition government did to South West TAFE, and indeed to the whole TAFE system, is nothing short of disgraceful. The damage will be felt for many years to come. However, the Andrews Labor government was elected to restore our TAFEs to the strong institutions they once were, and that is exactly what it will do.
The $20 million fast tracked from Labor’s $320 million rescue package is the first step. The $4 million in funding for South West TAFE will end the cycle of financial risk, job losses and course cuts that have decimated the institute over a number of years. It will be used to grow South West TAFE once again and to ensure that this important institute can meet the needs of students and industry in the region. Labor understands that our TAFEs play a crucial role in supporting regional communities like Warrnambool, Portland and Hamilton by delivering skills training that will grow jobs in key local industries. This fantastic announcement has been very well received in south west Victoria.