TAFE cuts raise crime fears

HUME authorities hold grave concerns that TAFE funding cuts will lead to increased unemployment and crime among the city’s youth.
Nanjing Night Net

Cr Geoff Porter said the state government’s cuts in spending to 80 per cent of vocational courses would impact Hume severely.

At a council meeting last week, Cr Porter described the cuts as a “kick in the guts” for Hume.

“Nearly $300 million will be slashed. The impact for our local TAFE and our local area is probably a $25 million cut,” he said.

Cr Porter said the cuts could lead to 1500 job losses across the state, including about 175 in Hume.

“It stuns me because the north-west of Melbourne has the highest unemployment rate in the state. We know there’s issues out there for youth unemployment, disengagement and, further to that, trying to upskill our local community.”

Cr Anne Potter said the cuts could lead to more youth to crime.

“If you give a kid an education and an opportunity to get a job and to earn some money, the likelihood is that they’re not going to fall into the crime scene.”

Cr Adem Atmaca said the government was creating a young community with no education or qualifications.

“If they can’t get into uni and there’s no places at TAFE then where do they go?” he asked.

Late last week, a Kangan Institute of TAFE spokesman said 52 courses would be discontinued from next year.

“Although no new enrolments are being taken for these courses, Kangan remains committed to helping all existing students to complete their qualification.”

Hume Whittlesea Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer Bill Threlfall said although he did not know exactly which courses would go, the funding cuts would lead to youth unemployment.

“The thing that concerns us is a lot of cuts are to courses that are often re-engagement courses such as hospitality, sport and recreation, and retail,” he said.

“These have appeal to young people.”

Mr Threlfall said the cuts would affect Hume more than anywhere else in Melbourne because of its low socio-economic population.

The council will write to Higher Education Minister Peter Hall expressing its concerns over the funding cuts and will call on the government to reverse its decision.