National TAFE Day 2018
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 5, 27 July 2018, p17
Unfortunately, at the federal level at least, “Stop TAFE Cuts” is still the theme for National TAFE Day.
On Tuesday, 19 June, TAFE workers and students around Australia celebrated the educational chances TAFE provides, as well as highlighting the ongoing budget cuts to the public provider by the Turnbull federal government.
Even during the Federal Parliament sitting on 19 June, the Turnbull government, despite prompting, still failed to even mention the word TAFE. However, the federal opposition gave a further commitment to the two-thirds funding guarantee for TAFE.
For the week starting the eighteenth of June, Queensland TAFE employees and students across the state joined with the QTU to celebrate National TAFE Day. Given the spread of activities however, it resembled more of a “National TAFE Week” rather than a single day. It started at TAFE Queensland Skillstech Eagle Farm campus with a catered lunch for all at TAFE and Skillstech Acacia Ridge and a huge sausage sizzle for the entire campus.
The celebrations continued across the state on all TAFE campuses: morning teas, pizza lunches and numerous sausage sizzles. At Southbank and Logan, QTU Deputy General Secretary Brendan Crotty fried up over 700 sausages for all the staff and students, while Vice-President Sam Pidgeon took over at Bracken Ridge campus (cooking slightly more I believe). State government MPs attended, such as Joe Kelly at Mount Gravatt and Don Brown at Alex Hills, to show the continuing and increasing support TAFE is receiving from the state government. Federal Labor MPs and candidates such as Ali France attended across the state and echoed federal Labor’s commitment to TAFE.
But despite the support at the state level and the atmosphere of celebration, there was a serious message to convey. Continuation of the 130-odd years of the TAFE Queensland history of community service requires support from the federal government. The evidence is overwhelming that the Turnbull/Birmingham model of funding for vocational education continues to fail, and steps must be taken by policy makers to curtail the rorts and restore integrity to the system. A properly funded TAFE and dual sector is the appropriate cornerstone upon which to rebuild the system.
Across the country on National TAFE Day, the QTU and its sibling unions called for and will continue to call for 70 per cent dedicated government funding for the TAFE and the dual sector. This commitment was given in Canberra from all politicians, except anyone in the Turnbull government.
TAFE is too good to lose. We thank our friends for standing with us and echoing that call. Happy National TAFE Day 2018 to you all!