MEDIA RELEASE: Friday May 18, 2018
Another week with another laundry list of bad news stories about our TAFEs while Education Minister Simon Birmingham does nothing but belittle students and pass the buck.
Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks said that if Education Minister Birmingham could not take TAFE seriously he should resign.
“Simon Birmingham’s handling of Australia’s TAFEs has been nothing but a disgrace,” Mr Hicks said.
“Birmingham shows nothing but contempt for the people who teach and study at our TAFEs and he should resign for the good of Australia and its future.”
More reports today reveal further bungles under Birmo’s watch, with enrolments in TAFE’s 20 most popular courses dropping by half and a botched IT system meant to help apprentices through training set to cost more than $25 million – and it doesn’t even work.
Mr Hicks said that if these stories weren’t bad enough, we started the week with Birmingham disparaging TAFE staff and students as “subsidised basket weavers”.
“Birmo’s belittling of TAFE students and teachers shows how little he understands the Vocational Education System, nor the skills shortage Australia is in,” Mr Hicks said.
“Since the Liberals came to power there has been 140,000 fewer students learning the vital skills Australia needs in all sectors, from construction to tourism and early childhood education.
“But Birmingham and the Turnbull Government don’t believe this massive drop is a concern because they will gladly sell young Australians short and open the door to foreign workers.”
Since the Abbott-Turnbull governments came to power more than $3 billion has been slashed from Australia’s skills training sector and the latest budget cut $270 million more.
It’s been a year since Birmingham and Turnbull announced the half-baked Skilling Australians Fund but the states and territories have still not signed up, not even those run by the Liberal Party.
“Birmo needs to stop blaming the governments of the past and start looking at Australia’s future where the skills shortage will be balloon into a disaster if left unaddressed,” The ETU National Secretary said.
“If he can’t do that, Birmingham should resign immediately because his time as education minister has been nothing short of a basket case.”
ETU National Secretary – Allen Hicks
0419 721 037, firstname.lastname@example.org