Minister answers TAFE call

Skills Minister Peter Hall will meet with Bendigo TAFE students and teachers in Bendigo today.

The announcement came a day after Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards called on the Nationals minister to speak to members of her electorate.

Ms Edwards said with the legislative council sitting in Bendigo this week, it was a great opportunity for Mr Hall to hear first-hand how the cuts to TAFE had impacted on the local community.

“These cuts are having a devastating impact on students, TAFE teachers and families,” the Labor MP said.

“The domino effect is loss of a skilled workforce, loss of jobs and a loss of opportunities in our region – that is going backwards under Mr Baillieu and Mr Ryan.”

Mr Hall responded yesterday by confirming he would visit Bendigo TAFE today. Bendigo TAFE chief executive Maria Simpson said her organisation had lost $9 million from its annual budget in state government funding cuts, resulting in 100 redundancies.

Ms Edwards took to Hargreaves Mall in June following the announcement to launch a petition calling on the state government to reinstate TAFE funding.

The petition had 90 signatures within the first 20 minutes.

The tally now stands at more than 2000 signatures.

“I have spoken with many teachers and students directly affected by the cuts to Bendigo TAFE who have signed my petition and who are all shocked at the extent of the cuts and the trail of destruction to our public education and skills sector that is being left behind,” Ms Edwards said.

“This is Minister Hall’s big chance to explain to the many affected teachers and students why his National Party, hand-in-hand with the Liberal government, has wrecked our TAFE system.”

Earlier this week, the Labor Party launched a TV advertisement criticising the state government’s cut to TAFE funding.

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