Chesters demands answers on uni and TAFE Federal Budget cuts

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters has written to the Prime Minister demanding answers on University and TAFE funding cuts hidden in last week’s Federal Budget. 

“I’ve written to the Prime Minister demanding to know what impact his higher education funding cuts will have on our local LaTrobe University Bendigo campus and Bendigo TAFE.” 

“I’m calling on the government to guarantee that cuts to higher education in this year’s budget, will not result in further job losses or course cuts at our local higher education institutions.”  

Last week’s Federal Budget was a double blow to the higher education sector. 

The Budget shows the Liberals are cutting university funding by 10 percent over the coming years, with a cut of around $430 million in the next two years alone. 

This Budget also neglects TAFE and public providers with significant cuts to the total funding for vocational education of 10.8 per cent next year and another 24.2 per cent between 2021-22 and 2024-25. 

Since the start of the pandemic, the Morrison government has locked universities out of JobKeeper, cut overall funding to the sector and introduced a higher education bill making it harder and more expensive for students to go to university. 

“To top it all off, the Liberals have refused additional support to the sector, despite the budget showing that international borders are likely to remain closed until mid-2022.”

“Universities have been brought to their knees by the Morrison government, and instead of using this Budget to help them Scott Morrison has made further funding cuts.”

More than 17,000 university workers have lost jobs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and universities lost an estimated $1.8 billion in revenue compared to 2019. 

“The first round of volunteer redundancies in 2020 saw 239 La Trobe staff lose their jobs, including 25 from Bendigo. Since then we have lost more jobs and courses. Additionally, more degrees and courses have been moved to an online only delivery model.”

“This Budget will have done nothing to curb the anxiety of the remaining staff at Bendigo Latrobe University, who will be forced into another year of uncertainty.”

“I fear another ugly year for the higher education sector.” 

“That’s why, I have written to the Prime Minister, urging him to guarantee that there will be no further job losses or course cuts at LaTrobe University Bendigo Campus or Bendigo TAFE brought on as a result of the 2021 Federal Budget.”