TAFE Reform leads to uncertain future for Durack staff

Nationals WA Member of Parliament Paul Brown MP is concerned the announcement of major reform in the TAFE sector will result in job losses at the Geraldton based Durack Institute of Technology.

Recently announced by the Minister for Training and Development, TAFE reform will see the amalgamation of the eleven TAFE colleges and their 70 campuses, many located throughout regional WA, to a network of five TAFE colleges. These five TAFE colleges will see two TAFE colleges located in the Perth metropolitan area, and three TAFE colleges in regional WA. Regional TAFE colleges will be amalgamated under Northern Regional TAFE, Central Regional TAFE and South Regional TAFE.

For Geraldton, this means that TAFE campuses located in Exmouth, Carnarvon, Wiluna, Kalgoorlie, Merredin, Northam, Moora and Geraldton will come under the management of Central Regional TAFE.

“It is unclear, whether Durack Institute of Technology or the Goldfields Institute of Technology will become the managing TAFE College for the Central Regional area,” Mr Brown said.

“This creates a great deal of uncertainty for Durack Institute of Technology staff during a time when Geraldton is experiencing an economic downturn due to the slowdown of the mining construction boom and low commodity prices, particularly the iron-ore price, causing major insecurity throughout the Mid West mining sector.”

“The loss of public sector jobs really hurts a regional community such as Geraldton,” Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown is also concerned that the reform will see the weakening of strategic educational objectives as outlined in the Mid West Economic Blueprint.

“The Mid West Economic Blueprint clearly outlines the need for education and training in the Mid West to have strategic collaboration and integration of school, VET and university pathways to deliver more effective and seamless transition into higher education opportunities. This is based on local education and training needs, and I fear that the focus on what is needed locally will be lost under this amalgamation model,” Mr Brown said.