Dr John Falzon
TAFE is more than a public good. It is a national treasure. It is time for the federal government to lead the way in ensuring that TAFE is treated with the care and respect it deserves as a much-loved and trusted public institution. It is time to completely abandon the disastrous neoliberal experiment that oversaw the outbreak of predatory profiteers in the VET space, much to the detriment of all of us. When TAFE, as a public institution, is undermined, the people of Australia are undermined. A strong, well-resourced, public TAFE system is a powerful means of addressing inequality. It is an engine for inclusive economic development, a safe space for personal growth, and an essential building block for the achievement of social justice.
Now, more than ever, in this time of the pandemic, as Australia looks down the barrel of a long-term social and economic crisis, TAFE must be properly resourced and recognised as being central to our national reconstruction, as per the sensible plan proposed by the ACTU. TAFE has long been a haven of hope and a pathway to social and economic participation for so many. It is time to place the public TAFE system at the centre of the collective hope we must now embrace, a hope that we can rebuild our lives and our livelihoods, not by returning to the past, but by shaping a future in which the economy, rather than indulging the narrow self-interest of the few, is reconfigured to serve the needs of the many.
Dr John Falzon OAM
Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice