Victoria is currently facing a youth unemployment crisis, with many of the worst-affected areas being in regional Victoria.
On a number of occasions in this place I have spoken about areas in my electorate, which includes the Premier’s Assembly electorate of South-West Coast, that are experiencing significant youth unemployment rates.
One does not need a degree in rocket science to understand that the way to give young people the best chance to get a job is to provide them with opportunities to skill up and be educated.
Just a few weeks ago, however, South West TAFE released its annual report for 2013-14, which explained that the Napthine government’s $300 million cut to TAFE was making it even more difficult for young people to access education.
Whilst the Napthine government will try to make excuses and stick its head in the sand, the facts are clear for all to see.
At South West TAFE the participation rates of 15 to 24-year-old students reduced by a whopping 657 from 2012 to 2013.
As a result of the Napthine government’s cuts to TAFE, 657 of those aged 15 to 24 years in the south-west are no longer at TAFE skilling up for employment.
There are also now 427 fewer 25 to 64-year-old students studying at South West TAFE because of those cuts.
Along with this, 49 full-time-equivalent jobs have been lost across TAFE campuses.
South West TAFE is a great contributor to the fabric of the south-west.
It has great staff, management and students and deserves better.
It deserves much more support from the Napthine government.