Activists from the AMWU were campaigning for the revival of TAFEs in Melbourne this week, when Victorian Labor Leader Dan Andrews pledged to put vocational training back on it’s feet if elected Premier in November.
The recently closed Greensborough campus of the Northern Metropolitan Institute of TAFE, brought together union delegates, unemployed members, officials and students, who shared there thoughts on the hardship for the northern suburbs community after losing the facility, with many students now forced to pay fares for nearly two hours on public transport to attend campuses elsewhere, in Epping or Preston.
The campus closed this year as it plunged into $30 million debt in the wake of funding cuts by the Napthine Coalition Government, the AMWU stated.
Mr Andrews believes that the $1.2 billion stripped from Victorian TAFEs by the state Coalition Government had placed skills training into crisis and deprived many young people and newly unemployed workers with affordable, viable access to re-training. Added to that, the AMWU believes its a double blow when the Government’s failure to enforce local content on key government contracts, including steel production.
“We’ve got a jobs crisis in our state and Denis Napthine’s answer is to gut TAFE, which gives Victorians a vocational pathway to the skills they want – this closed campus is one of many,” Mr Andrews said.
AMWU delegate Matthew Calleja revealed he was concerned that the TAFE closure meant less chance of his employer Tronics in Thomastown being able to start hiring apprentices again in future.