Group lobbies for TAFE

LATROBE Valley residents are striving to reverse a key State Government decision within the next four months.

A TAFE action group was set up recently, with about 15 members consisting of students and teachers aiming to push the State Government into reversing its recent budget decision, which has resulted in $300 million being axed from the TAFE sector.

While such a move will prove “difficult” for the Save Our TAFE Action Group Gippsland, group member Jo Mathews said she was still “optimistic”.

“I’m apprehensive for sure… but I’m also an optimistic person and I think we can make a difference,” Ms Mathews said.

“It’s a real slap in the face… cutting all those courses (because of the budget cuts).”

Ms Mathews, who is undertaking an adult Victorian Certificate of Education course, described the Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE and other TAFE providers in the region as “primary skill providers”.

“I jumped at the idea of having to do a VCE course because I really regretted discontinuing my education,” she said.

“TAFE is there for people financially disadvantaged to get further in life.”

Ms Mathews said the discontinuation of courses from GippsTAFE, the axing of jobs and a revenue loss of $10.5 million at the institute, only further “inhibited” the Gippsland community.

With a Facebook site set up and meetings sought with relevant state ministers, the group refuses to “just let (the government) hit our education system”.

“Concern was felt for the students and staff and the wider community for how the sudden and unexplainable budget cuts has impacted on them, and for the coming ripple effects in the coming years,” Ms Mathews said following the group’s first meeting.

“The community have not given permission for such drastic removal of essential funding to their educational TAFE.”