Victorian teachers and students will pay the price for Mr Baillieu’s inability to manage the state’s finances
Victorian schools and TAFEs will be hit hard by the Baillieu Government’s inability to manage the state’s finances, leaving teachers and students with ageing buildings and fewer options, while making it harder for Victorians to gain new skills to get a job.
Shadow Education Minister James Merlino said the Baillieu Government’s second budget demonstrated that it still had no vision for education, after it cut the education budget by $74 million.
“The budget was billed by Mr Baillieu as a tough budget, but it is now clear that he meant it would be tough on education, tough on students and tough on teachers,” Mr Merlino said.
“The Baillieu Government has already slashed $500 million from the education sector, including cutting 100,000 school start bonuses and $48 million from VCAL.
“In Mr Baillieu’s second budget, it is now clear he has gone further, cutting programs like the School Start Program entirely, while providing less support for school buildings and infrastructure.
“Even from Mr Baillieu’s own promises to schools across Victoria, 22 schools have missed out again, which will mean over $82 million worth of promises are unlikely to be completed before the next election.”
Mr Merlino said that because of the cuts outlined in the budget, Victorian students would no longer have access to a range of programs, including:
- the School Start Program, which provided a one off $300 payment for families with a child moving into prep or year 7 to help cover the cost of starting school; and
- Student support officers, which provided assistance and counselling to at-risk students.
Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Skills and Apprenticeships Steve Herbert said Mr Baillieu’s second budget was a horror budget for Victorians looking for vocational training or further skills.
“Mr Baillieu’s latest attack on TAFE funding – the largest single cut to TAFE in the state’s history - is also the latest in a long list of Baillieu Government cuts to Victorian schools and TAFEs,” Mr Herbert said.
“TAFEs will now be forced to scrap courses, cut staff numbers, and drop community service obligations, and many TAFEs will find themselves financially unviable. TAFEs are already recording operating deficits, and this budget is only going to make things worse. Victorians are beginning to realise the Government they voted for is very different from the one they have now.”