Friday, 19 December 2008

Hansard 2008-12-03 Skills Training: Reform

On 10th September 2008 Mr Hall MLC for Eastern Victoria Region moved the following motion:
"That, in respect of the recently announced skills reforms, this house calls on the government to explain to the Parliament and the people of Victoria the following --
(1) the number of Victorian students that missed out on a funded training place last year;
(2) how increasing student fees will attract more people to participate in vocational training particularly at the diploma and advanced diploma level;
(3) how much revenue is expected to be raised by increased fees and the purpose to which that revenue will be put;
(4) whether the $139 million designated as 'contestable funding' is new money or whether it is a transference of current money already allocated to the delivery of diploma and advanced diploma places;
(5) how an income-contingent loan system will encourage more students to take up training;
(6) how the government intends to address the predicted shortfall of 123 000 diploma and advanced diploma qualified workers by 2015;
(7) how the government expects to find an additional 900 TAFE staff and 500 non-teaching staff when TAFE teaching salaries are almost $20 000 lower than their counterparts in NSW and well below that of teachers in the schools sector;
(8) how a competitive training system will work and its impact on training providers;
(9) why the cost of training is being transferred from the state to the student;
(10) why the government continues to underfund training in Victoria by 15 per cent compared with the Australian states average;
(11) why those who have to retrain will be ineligible for a government-funded place;
(12) why the government is abolishing concessional fees for diploma and advanced diploma courses; and
(13) how much is being spent on television advertising to promote the reform package".

The debate continued and concluded on 3rd December 2008.
Mr Kavanagh's comments in Parliament on Hansard are below:

Date: 3 December 2008
Page: 5320
3 December 2008 COUNCIL


Page 5330


Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- As a person with some experience of teaching in the TAFE sector I feel obliged to say a few words about the motion. Although I only taught in TAFE for a short time it was clear to me that TAFE students were extremely well motivated and were at a surprising level of academic ability.

Perhaps people do not realise -- I did not assume -- that people who may have left

Page 5331

school earlier than some others are often nevertheless very good at studying academic subjects. TAFE catered to those students well as well as offering a large number of practical skills to young people. It was quite inspiring to look at a lot of people who went to TAFE after work -- they did a full day at work and then went and studied at night to improve their skills base. I felt admiration for them, and I thought the TAFE system catered to their needs well.

I also noticed at the time and have noticed since that TAFE jobs seem to be conspicuous by their absence in terms of advertisements and so forth. Looking through newspapers you rarely see a job in TAFE, because there are not many available. TAFE seems to be treated as the poor relation in the education system of Victoria. Although many TAFE teachers are well skilled and experienced, they receive a rate of pay which is much lower than that of those who teach in secondary schools, even though their skill level and expertise in particular subjects is probably often higher.

It seems to me that this government undervalues, and has undervalued for a long time, practical skills in education. This is perhaps demonstrated by what the Kirner government did to technical schools in Victoria, which was to abolish them -- much to the great cost of many young people, particularly those who were not especially academically oriented. TAFE does a great job imparting practical skills to many Victorians, and it deserves a lot better from the government than it has been getting.


Page 5333


House divided on motion:

Ayes, 21
Kavanagh, Mr

Noes, 18

Motion agreed to.


Peter Kavanagh MLC
Member for Western Victoria
Parliament of Victoria

"La Cabine"
2nd Floor
1 Yarra Street
Geelong VIC 3220

Ph: 03 5222 1503
Fax: 03 5222 8677


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