A PETITION containing more than 1000 signatures calling for the reversal of drastic cuts to TAFE funding has been delivered to Premier Ted Baillieu.
The petition of Victoria University staff and students and western suburbs residents calls on the government to abandon about $300 million in funding cuts that are expected to heavily affect students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Western suburbs Greens MP Colleen Hartland delivered the petition to the Premier yesterday.
"Victoria University TAFE plays a crucial role in educating the western suburbs community," she said.
"Victoria University staff and students are already feeling the pain of the TAFE cuts as redundancies take effect and courses are cut. I will stand up in Parliament and call on the Premier to not cut TAFE in the west."
Federal Maribyrnong MP and Employment Minister Bill Shorten has also taken aim at the TAFE cuts.
He welcomed yesterday's forecasts by the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations showing Melbourne's western and outer western suburbs are expected to lead the nation in job creation over the next five years, but he pointed to the need for the right skills to match the opportunities.
New research by the department predicts that in the five years to 2016-17, outer western Melbourne is projected to record the largest increase nationally with employment increasing by 33,600.
"Our greatest challenge will be to equip our children and existing workers who are making the transition to new jobs or new roles with the skills they need to feed the demand for new workers," he said.
"My department is predicting that the greatest growth in jobs will come from service industries and from skilled roles.
"It should be an even more salient reminder to the Baillieu government that we need more, not less, investment in skills and education, and to reconsider its myopic policy on TAFE funding."
Federal Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans has warned Victoria's share of vocational funding is being placed at risk by its cuts to the public TAFE sector. But Victorian Higher Education Minister Peter Hall says his aim is to grow the sector and more Victorians will receive training under the new funding model.