January 13, 2014

Why the Senate Inquiry into TAFE is important - and why you should get involved

By Pat Forward

2013 was a terrible year for TAFE in Australia. It was the year that the funding cuts and the "reforms" really hit students, teachers and communities. But it was also the year when more and more people joined the campaign to defend public vocational education in TAFE.

We have started, but there is much more to be done.

The 2013 House of Representatives Inquiry into TAFE saw a record number of submissions, but the Inquiry couldn't beat the inevitable Federal Election, and it concluded without making a report. Late in 2013, the Australian Greens were successful in achieving a Senate Inquiry into TAFE. This inquiry has started, submissions are due by March 7, there will be public hearings in capital cities and some regional centres - and it will report on May 13, 2014.

There is much work to be done!

The Senate Inquiry is a great opportunity to turn the spotlight onto TAFE. Please get involved.

The first thing that any person in Australia could do is write a short submission to the Inquiry taolking about their experience with TAFE, and why it is important. Submissions do not have to be long. They can be a paragraph, a few hundred words. We have seen some great comments from Stop TAFE Cuts supporters as they sign up to the website - these comments would make great submissions to the Inquiry. These comments come from the heart, and from the important place of peoples' own experience. They are powerful and they are compelling. They will make politicians think, and they will help make a difference.

We have developed factsheets and information about how to make a submission to the Inquiry. They are available at www.stoptafecuts.com.au/inquiry. Or contact us directly, and we can send material out to you.

Did you make a submission to the House of Representatives TAFE Inquiry? Great stuff - it will be used to this Inquiry without you having to do a thing. But please consider supplementing your submission - even if it is short.

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to produce information about the Senate Inquiry and encourage people to get involved. There will be public hearings across the country, and we will organise events around those hearings.

In the meantime, you can help build the campaiogn, and encourage your friends and colleagues to get involved by registering at www.stopatafecuts.com.au, by becoming a StopTAFECuts friend on Facebook, by following us on Twitter, and by sharing our posts and information. We know that many thousands of people have already done this - we need many thousands more.

It is difficult to understand why governments are privatising TAFE and cutting its funding. Across the country, student fees are rising - sometimes by many thousands of dollars. Most Australians can't afford this. Some students are going into debt to go to TAFE! This is hard to believe, and its impact into the future will be terrible.

Generations of Australians have gone to TAFE to help get a job, to help get to university, to learn to read and write, to find a safe place to learn, to realise a dream, to have another go - to become part of a community and a society.

Don't let governments destroy your TAFE college - get involved today. Register your support at www.stoptafecuts.com.au