Ian Curry

National TAFE Day 2020

The future we want is dependent on us successfully defending public education and particularly, defending public Vocational Education & Training - TAFE.

I know the transformational power of a good vocational education, and I can say with certainty that our members appreciate that as well, as most of them, like me, are the products of the good work TAFE has done over decades.

We also know the enormous damage that is being done to TAFE by relentless ideological attacks on public education and the prioritization of private profits over public good that are the current hallmarks of government policy.

And while governments have been pursuing their ideological obsession with market economics and privatisation, the economy is again struggling to find the skilled workers it will need to drive high quality early childhood education, aged care, disability care and the professional teachers that will train ship builders, renewable energy technicians and advanced manufacturing workers.

The interests of manufacturing workers are inextricable linked to the independence of our public education system and the values that underpin it.

Those values are being undermined by economic not societal values and we must join together to grasp back our rights to live in a society – not just an economy.

High quality vocational education and training is central to our ambition to create a well-educated, socially capable and resilient population with the skills to face the future.

TAFE, as a well-resourced, high-quality public provider, is central to achieving that ambition and must be defended.

Ian Curry

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union