Letter campaign sparks reaction16-11-2011
Last term, 350 TAFE members sent letters off to state MPs and it was amazing how successful this simple activity was. Within a couple of days of the first letters being received by MPs the AEU was contacted by the TAFESA Chief Executive indicating that she was receiving inquiries from MPs.
Some days later staff in TAFE SA Adelaide South received a communiqué threatening disciplinary action in the event that such action breached the SA Public Sector Code of Ethics.
Additionally TAFE Minister Tom Kenyon sought an urgent meeting with the AEU. At this meeting we received repeated assurances that Skills for All was not a copy of the Victorian TAFE reforms and hence will not be placing the future of TAFE at risk as is certainly the case in Victoria.
Right now, in South Australia, we have the opportunity to influence the State Government on proposals to reform the VET sector. Other states will be watching with interest to see what happens here.
Victoria was the first state to embrace the notion of fully contestable VET funding. South Australia is the next state to head down that path.
In South Australia, we have the advantage of two significant bits of information that weren’t previously available.
- The Federal Government appears to be relaxing its insistence on the states to introduce such reforms as a condition of the next VET funding agreement.
- Damning evidence is now emerging from Victoria indicating that 16 out of 18 TAFE Institutes are now running at a loss and that TAFE’s share of the training market has fallen from 75% to 53% in just 3 years.
The next stage of our campaign is one of providing members with the facts of what has happened in Victoria. We encourage you to register for the TAFE twilight seminar “TAFE at the crossroads: What’s the future under Skills for All” to be held at the AEU on Thursday 3 November between 4pm and 6pm.
Pat Forward, AEU Federal TAFE Secretary will be a keynote speaker. Pat has done extensive research on the effect on TAFE, and on students, of the Victorian VET reforms and will present an analysis of the similarities proposed under the SA Government’s Skills for All.
It is hoped that we can conclude the seminar with a panel which includes several state politicians who will be asked to address the theme of the seminar and respond to questions from the audience.