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Labor cuts funding to sign language courses

Wednesday 1 November 2017

 

The Andrews Labor Government has cut funding for Australian sign language (AUSLAN) courses.

From January 1 next year, Melbourne Polytechnic, as the sole provider of accredited AUSLAN qualifications in Victoria, will no longer be subsidised by the Victorian Government to deliver a Certificate II, III and IV or Diploma in Auslan.

The decision to cut funding for Auslan was revealed in changes to the Andrews Government’s 2018 funded course list.

The course was first accredited in 2011 by the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) to enable the acquisition of skills by members of the deaf community.

In 2012 as Labor’s spokesperson for Skills and Training, Steve Herbert stated: “Clearly there’s a need for this training, and the government should simply fund at TAFE to provide it from the start of next year”.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan

Victoria’s deaf community deserve better than Daniel Andrews’ callous funding cuts.

From the start of next year, Victorians will have to pay more than $5000 to gain these important skills.

Daniel Andrews should immediately reinstate this qualification to ensure it can continue to be delivered as an accredited qualification next year.

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Young people call bull on Mikakos’ excuses

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Young people encouraged to apply for Labor’s Youth Congress are still waiting to hear if their applications were successful, four months after the Congress was due to begin.

Asked about the delay in Parliament on Tuesday, Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos blamed Australia Post, despite applicants confirming that all correspondence with them to date has been via phone and email.

Ms Mikakos said the letters were signed, but ‘must still be making their way through Australia Post’s unreliable and slow service’.

Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan said the bizarre claim didn’t explain the four-month delay.

“The Andrews Government touted the Youth Congress as a flagship project designed so young people could get a genuine say in the development of policy, yet four months after it was due to begin people don’t even know if their applications have been accepted or rejected,” Ms Ryan said.

“Jenny Mikakos is so distracted by the crisis in the youth justice system that she has little time for young Victorians who want to make a positive contribution to our state.

“I have spoken with three young people from different parts of Victoria who applied to be on Youth Congress and not one has been advised on the outcome of their application.

“When they were interviewed in June they were told they would be contacted in the next four weeks, advising them of the outcome.

“These applications have been gathering dust on the Minister’s desk for months, awaiting her signature.

 “Jenny Mikakos has done nothing but pay lip service to the participation of young people in shaping policy.”

When they were asked to apply, young people were required to fill out an application form which stated they would be required for a ‘12 month commitment from late June 2017 to 30 June 2018’.

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Daniel Andrews failing to fix Victoria’s training crisis

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Victorian students are continuing to lose faith in our state’s training sector, as enrolments under the Andrews Labor Government continue to plummet.

Data released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows TAFE student numbers dropped by 52,400 between 2015 and 2016.

Asked about the decrease in Parliament on Wednesday, Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney appeared unaware of the data, which is a key measure of Victoria’s training system.

It isn’t the first time Ms Tierney has been unaware of key events in her own portfolio. Two weeks ago she failed to explain why Victoria’s 2016 training market data was eight months overdue. The report still hasn’t been published.

Labor cut $45 million from the state’s training budget in its May budget.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan

The training sector is in chaos but the Andrews Labor Government continually fails to provide the leadership needed to fix this mess.

Daniel Andrews and Gayle Tierney are stuck in the past if they believe their 2015 ‘quality blitz’ on dodgy private providers can explain why droves of Victorian students have left TAFE.

Gayle Tierney is so distracted by her Corrections portfolio and the state’s crime crisis that she appears to have no clue of the crisis within Victoria’s training sector.

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Daniel Andrews’ 11 new taxes, skyrocketing energy bills are the problem; his website isn’t the solution

Tuesday 22 August 2017

The greatest threat to Victorian families keeping a roof over their head is Daniel Andrews’ eleven new taxes and reckless policies that are pushing up the cost of living.

Daniel Andrews has introduced eleven new taxes, increasing overall tax revenue by more than 20 per cent on Victorians. One of those new taxes forced the closure of Hazelwood Power Station, which has forced up electricity costs that are hurting families and small businesses.  

A tenancy agreement that goes beyond five years will not matter if people can't afford to put their children through school, put food on the table, switch on the lights or keep heaters on in winter.

Rather than wasting money on a taxpayer funded website which is effectively mirroring the service provided by realestate.com.au or domain.com.au, Labor should be investing in our deteriorating country roads or better public transport to our regional communities.

If Daniel Andrews was serious about housing issues, he wouldn’t have introduced eleven new taxes or effectively closed Hazelwood. 

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Tierney hides training report, now eight months overdue

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Background

The Andrews Labor Government is burying key data showing the extent of its cuts to Victoria’s struggling training system.

Asked about the delay of the 2016 training market report in Parliament, Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney claimed the report could not be completed until the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) published its 2016 data on training activity.

The NCVER published that information on July 12 this year.

Gayle Tierney is either engaged in a cover up or she is so incompetent that she is unaware of key events in her own portfolio.

The 2015 report, published in May 2016, showed Victoria’s training system has gone into steep decline under Labor.

Labor cut $45 million from the state’s training budget in its May budget and, on the last available figures, the number of students enrolled in government-subsidised training in Victoria has declined by 122,597 since December 2014.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan

Gayle Tierney is hiding this report because it shows that Victoria’s training system has gone down the gurgler under Labor.

Daniel Andrews used TAFE to get elected, but now he’s Premier he isn’t interested in helping students get the skills they need to get a job.

Victorian students have been left in the dark for eight months because Labor wants to keep its failed TAFE ‘rescue’ a secret.

The sector has lost more than 122,000 students since Labor was elected and Daniel Andrews’ answer is to cut $45 million from the training budget.

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Labor's failed Federation Training 'rescue'

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Daniel Andrews’ TAFE ‘rescue’ has been a total sham.

A third of Federation Training's workforce was sacked with 182 full time equivalent staff losing their jobs at the TAFE in Labor's first year in office.  

Under Daniel Andrews the number of students undertaking training at Federation Training has reduced drastically, with 700,000 fewer student contact hours being offered.

The figures were revealed in Federation Training's 2015 annual report, which was tabled in Parliament more than a year late. 

For months, Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney has refused to answer basic questions about Federation Training’s staff numbers, student enrolments and its finances, suddenly claiming the information is “commercially sensitive”.

Seven out of the state’s 12 TAFE Institutes, including Federation Training, are relying on government bailouts to stay afloat.

Gayle Tierney has supported the closure of student services, the sacking of teachers and presided over a huge reduction in student numbers at Federation Training.

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Labor sparks Heyfield mill fire sale

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford still refuses to admit the Labor Government’s offer to buy the Heyfield mill is just smoke and mirrors.

In Parliament today, Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath asked the Minister why the Andrews Labor Government failed to make a commercially realistic offer to the mill that would secure the 260 local jobs.

But Ms Pulford failed to provide an answer, even refusing to answer simple questions about why she has been removed from the negotiations.

Australian Sustainable Hardwoods has confirmed the mill would wind down its operations from August due to “expected short supply of logs to the mill again this year” meaning 50 jobs would be lost a month earlier than initially thought.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh

Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford continually fail to provide Heyfield mill workers with any confidence Labor will fight for their jobs.

The Premier seems to be forcing a fire sale of the Heyfield mill after Labor’s changed timber policy undermined the business’ viability.

The Premier is putting possums before the jobs of 260 people and the wider Heyfield community.

Labor’s desperate attempt to secure greens preferences and create the Great Forest National Park by stealth has left the future of the Heyfield mill and Victoria’s forestry industry in jeopardy.

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Heyfield mill closure to begin early

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Australian Sustainable Hardwoods has announced today it will close its Heyfield mill earlier than planned.

ASH confirmed today the mill will wind down from August due to “VicForests expected short supply of logs to the mill again this year”.

At a recent hearing for the parliamentary inquiry into VicForests, VicForests Acting CEO Nathan Trushell confirmed the amount of timber available to industry has dropped by nearly 60,000m3 due to confirmed possum sightings and projected future sightings.

Mr Trushell also said the possum was being discovered at a rate “much higher than ever anticipated”.

There are 260 people employed at the Heyfield mill, while the mill’s operations support 7000 jobs down the line.

Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy and Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull visited the Heyfield mill again today to speak with ASH.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy

The Liberal-Nationals understand the importance of this business to the Heyfield community and committed in February that an elected Liberal-Nationals government would keep the mill open and save these jobs.

Daniel Andrews' promise to fight for every Victorian job was clearly a lie. The Andrews government has presided over thousands of lost Gippsland jobs with no remorse for their failure to step in and save them.

Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh

The Heyfield community and Victoria’s forestry industry have endured increasingly difficult conditions under a Labor Government more concerned with protecting possums than Victorian jobs.

The Premier for Melbourne is so desperate to keep his own job and the greens preferences that got him there that he is condemning 260 jobs in the Heyfield community.

Comments attributable to Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull

The closure of the Heyfield mill is devastating news for the workers, their families and the Heyfield community.

Daniel Andrews promised to visit Heyfield in February, but more than three months later he still refuses to show any support for our community.

The Premier for Melbourne fails to understand the mill doesn’t need a new owner to save these jobs, it needs a change in government policy.

Education and Skills Media releases Community Services

Labor can’t rescue its failed TAFE ‘rescue’

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Background

The Andrews Labor Government is scrambling to cover up its failed TAFE ‘rescue’, spending almost half a billion dollars to keep Victoria’s TAFEs afloat.

A Victorian Auditor-General’s annual Audit Snapshot, released today, shows Victoria’s training system is shrinking and becoming more reliant on State Government grants.

It found:

“The improvement in revenue in 2015 and 2016 has been driven by additional government grant funding, rather than growth in revenue. Student numbers continued to fall, and all other sources of revenue such as student fees and contestable funding declined in 2015 and 2016” (VAGO report, p17).

The report revealed Labor has handed out $490 million in grants to TAFEs in the past two years, but student numbers and training quality have worsened.

The Auditor-General flagged concerns that TAFEs had reduced “financial flexibility” with falling student numbers and income revenue.

The report also found the course funding provided by the Andrews Government was not sufficient to meet staff costs of most TAFEs.

Comments from Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan

Student numbers are plummeting, but Daniel Andrews and Gayle Tierney are still trying to tell Victorians their TAFE ‘rescue’ has been a success.

TAFE is weaker, not stronger, under Labor, to a point where they now rely more on State Government bailouts, than their own revenue, to stay afloat.

It’s clear Daniel Andrews’ TAFE ‘rescue’ has been a complete failure.

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Labor refuses to save forestry jobs

Thursday 1 June 2017

Background

The Andrews Labor Government could save thousands of forestry jobs in Victoria by reducing the size of ‘highly precautionary’ timber harvest exclusion zones.

At a parliamentary inquiry into VicForests, VicForests Acting CEO Nathan Trushell confirmed the Leadbeater’s Possum was being detected at a rate “much higher than ever anticipated”.

Mr Trushell also described the current 200m buffer zones as “highly precautionary and having a significant impact on industry”.

At May 18 this year, 617 Leadbeater’s Possum colonies had been recorded and an estimated 1851 individual possums found.

Mr Trushell also confirmed the amount of timber available to industry had dropped by nearly 60,000m3 because of possum sightings and projected sightings in the future.

The Andrews Labor Government is months overdue with a required review of the exclusion zones.

At a Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing today, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford showed an embarrassing lack of understanding of her portfolio and had to refer to Department staff when questioned if she had seen the exclusion zone review.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh

Daniel Andrews has created this crisis in our forestry industry and is trying to force a fire sale of Heyfield’s mill instead of saving jobs and reducing the size of the exclusion zones.

Demand has never been higher for Victoria’s high-quality timber products but Daniel Andrews has put the industry in peril.

The 200m buffer zones were put in place at a time when Leadbeater’s possum numbers were unknown and they were supposed to be reviewed once 200 colonies were found but Daniel Andrews looks hell bent on creating the Great Forest National Park by stealth instead.

Daniel Andrews is sacrificing timber workers and their livelihoods because he is desperate to cling to power and needs city greens preferences next election.