Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dear Prime Minister

I invite you to become a TAFE Champion. 

TAFE has delivered quality vocational education and training to millions of Australians for over a hundred years. It has a quality brand that is recognised and supported by many in the community today. Recently we stood in the cold collecting hundreds of signatures at the NSW Blue Mountains ‘Winter Magic’ festival in support of TAFE. What we found was that when we spoke about TAFE and informed members of the public about what was happening to TAFE across the country, they were concerned and alarmed. 

As Prime Minister once again, you have the opportunity to ensure that TAFE is properly funded and that no National Partnership Agreement between the Commonwealth and states and territories, can be used to undermine TAFE and create instead a government funded artificial training market. We are concerned, as you are, that Australians have access to the best education and training through their lives, and that TAFE is able to build not just the skills of individuals, but also social capital and community capability. Economic productivity is important, but so is building lifelong learning opportunities for all. TAFE has and continues to have a significant role in this undertaking. 

We are concerned that the current National Inquiry into TAFE has not been used to gather all that individuals and organisations value about TAFE. The submissions clearly demonstrate overwhelming support for TAFE and its varied roles in meeting the educational requirements of a diverse group of students. Yet there has only been one day of public hearings in Brisbane. We do not feel that the employer and industry participants on the day reflected this breadth and depth of support for TAFE. 

We ask you as Prime Minister to become a TAFE Champion. TAFE Champions are recognised on our website. But more than that! As a TAFE Champion we know that you will ask your new Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, to reconsider the current National Partnership Agreement, and ensure that it funds and recognises TAFE’s role as the major provider of vocational education and training in this country. What is happening currently in your own state of Queensland, and in NSW and Victoria, in particular, will lead to the demise of TAFE. Its delivery has dropped to below 50% in Victoria. It is not too late to prevent a similar decline in provision occurring in NSW and Queensland. 

Representatives of the TAFE Community Alliance are able to meet with you and/or your office at any time to provide further information. We will be writing to Minister O’Connor. Please contact tafecommunityalliance@gmail.com.

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