On 28 October 2009, Julia Gillard, the then Education Minister, addressed a reception to celebrate National TAFE Day.
This speech recognised the “formidable contribution” TAFE has made to Australia along with praising the dedicated educators and teachers working in TAFEs around the country.
Ms Gillard went on to say:
“TAFE changes lives. It is the backbone of trades training in this country. It enables adults to change careers. It caters for students who prefer an adult learning environment rather than school. It has a truly national footprint and plays a vital role in regional Australia.”
This “national footprint” and “backbone”, is under attack by the policies, funding arrangements and budget cuts of state governments around Australia. We urge Julia Gillard and the Federal Government of Australia to act now and ensure a viable future for TAFE. The Federal Government must do this, because as Julia Gillard noted in 2009:
“Developing the high achieving TAFE network of the future will involve considerable change. And it won’t be easy in a world of competing priorities. But I think the Australian people understand that it’s a task we must take on – because they know just how important TAFE is.”