New Education Union claims first success but warns that rebuilding TAFE by cutting teaching and non-teaching staff does not make sense

The recently formed Tasmanian Education Association (TEA) has claimed credit for the groundswell of public opinion for the reunification of TAFE.

TEA president, Greg Brown, said that the momentum in the community for The Skills Institute and the Tasmanian Polytechnic to be reunited was due to the campaign started by the TEA after the new education union’s launch in early October.

The TEA firmly believes that the inquiry, announced by Nick McKim, into the reformation of TAFE is a further waste of taxpayers’ money because the staff that made TAFE a world class training institution is still there.

“All Nick McKim had to do was tell the Polytechnic and Skills Institute CEOs to make it happen,” Mr Brown said. “The staff know what has to be done.”

The TEA is adamant that the proposed staffing cuts in Skills Institute and Polytechnic are unacceptable and will further only undermine the reformation process.

Mr Brown said, “This is not rocket science. Staffing cuts mean fewer teachers. That means fewer courses and that means fewer students being trained. What happened to the grand promises that were made to justify Tasmania Tomorrow just a short while ago? Why should Tasmanians who need to upgrade their skills be forced to suffer because of the incompetence and economic vandalism of the current government and those who couldn’t wait to introduce Tasmania Tomorrow? They are the ones who have bankrupted the state.”

“Before TAFE was split up it was a world class training institution and had just won national and international awards. It can be again” Mr Brown said.

“Slashing staff numbers and denying students access to training courses and other programs is short term thinking. Mr McKim’s inquiry will be a joke if it creates a new TAFE which is a mere shadow of its former self.”

The TEA insists that the government can achieve savings by eliminating the duplication, costs and wastage that are now incurred under the current structure by merging the Tasmanian Skills Institute and Polytechnic and by dramatically reducing the size of the four bureaucracies that Tasmania Tomorrow spawned.