Monday, August 20, 2012

tafe4all, swinburne lilydale, the impacts continue

Me with Amie and Jacinta, students at Swinburne
Lilydale. Last week Amie spoke to us about
the impacts the closure will have on students.
Last week I attended the TAFE4All rally in Melbourne, I was there to support locals also attending.

The petitions so far, in the thousands.

At its meeting of 12 June, the majority of Yarra Ranges Councillors voted to support the TAFE4All campaign. At our meeting of 10 July, we unanimously resolved to write to local, state and federal members of parliament expressing concern regarding the state government’s decision to reduce funding to the sector, which has resulted in Swinburne University of Technology’s announcement that it will close its Lilydale campus. To support students we’ve also had copies of the petitions available at all of our community links throughout the shire.

As has been well documented, Swinburne University of Technology will close its Lilydale campus, with up to 240 staff to lose their jobs. 

TAFE courses in hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism will no longer be offered. With health related courses in nursing, community health, childcare, children’s services and home and community care will be a direct blow to the skills base of Yarra Ranges.

The march took up a few blocks from the State
Library to Parliament House.
This decision will see withdrawal of the following opportunities for local students:
·6 post graduate courses
.6 research courses
·69 TAFE courses
·26 undergraduate courses

Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik was at the rally.
The same day in Parliament she raised the
 issue of training rorts, you can read more
 in hansard.
Similarly, the closure will impact international student options with the loss of:
·3 research courses
·9 TAFE courses
·27 undergraduate courses

The decision comes after the Victorian government slashed $290 million from TAFE funding in the 2012/13 budget. Swinburne had $35 million cut from its budget for this financial year.

The Economic Development Unit of the Shire has analysed the economic impacts to the region. As a result of the closure of Swinburne will see a substantial loss of jobs in the education and training sector for our municipal economy.

At this stage definitive numbers on the amount of job losses that will be lost from the Lilydale campus across teaching, administrative support and maintenance staff has not been fully detailed by the University.

Whilst these NMIT students performed 'We are the
Champions', the Lilydale students leapt up on the stage.
The education sector is the sixth most important sector for output and is the third most significant sector of employment in Yarra Ranges (source Remplan 2012). Any impact to this sector will be immediately felt within the municipality leaving a significant challenge to replace this economic activity. Furthermore, the negative social impacts to our community by reduced access and opportunities for higher education will be significant and long term in effect.

If the assumption that the loss of direct jobs is 240, this loss corresponds to a decrease in output of approximately $26 million to the municipal economy. From this direct contraction in the economy, flow on impacts of the reduced purchasing of local goods and services could result in the loss of a further 25 jobs, as well as secondary job losses which could generate a further 51 job losses.

Modelling completed by the Shire’s Economic Development Unit shows that the cumulative loss is as much as $46 million for our local economy when you take into account the direct, industrial and consumption effect of the losses.

Add to this the harrowing story of Swinburne Students, who we heard from at last week’s council meeting, who will have to face 2 hour plus one way trip to alternate campuses to access their courses, would you travel 4 hours a day?

It is even more galling when considering the response of the Member for Gembrook who says “the government welcomes the strengthened focus on these areas” (science and technology.. by Swinburne) and goes on to say that the decisions made by Swinburne “makes sense”. Tell that to students in the Upper Yarra who now have to travel a considerably longer time to take up vocational education. 

If you’d like to keep in touch with what’s happening you can visit the TAFE4All website or Save Swinburne Lilydale/Prahran Campus facebook site.

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