Letters to the editor

Damian von Samorzewski, of the AEU, says more resources need to be allocated to TasTafe.
Damian von Samorzewski, of the AEU, says more resources need to be allocated to TasTafe.

Pulling the plug on TAFE

DATA recently released by the  National Centre for Vocational Education Research on apprenticeship and traineeships competitions should be a wake up call for all of us. In the past five years, completion rates have almost halved. What that may tell us, is that in the coming years there's going to be a need to import skilled trades people, on work visas. Our kids are currently missing out on training that will make them highly employable, for a lifetime.

There are many reasons for this decline, but one that can't be denied is the total destruction of TAFE training in Australia. In Tasmania, at the hands of politicians and bureaucrats, TAFE is quickly becoming a shadow of its former self.

Continual cuts in its budget and a significant lack of ongoing investment in its staff and teaching resources over the past 20 years, now sees apprentices training on equipment over 30 years old, or not at all in some cases.

A teacher with recent industry experience asked his TasTAFE manager to purchase some resources that graduating students would be expected to know and use. His manager told him to get a guest speaker in, as there was no money in the budget to buy industry relevant resources. Due to continual funding cut backs, it now appears the employer will actually teach the students how to use industry specific technology.

TasTAFE doesn't have the equipment or resources anymore. Yes, we do have a few shining exemplars, but these are put out to blind us from what's real going on. When you can't find a plumber, builder, hairdresser or graphic designer, don't blame TAFE, blame the fools you elected.

Damian von Samorzewski, TAFE Division president, Australian Education Union Tasmania.

Interstate travel

AS A wheelchair-bound traveller returning to George Town from Melbourne, I feel it necessary to pass on my observations regarding travel to and from Tasmania.

The Spirit of Tasmania provides me with a much better experience than do the airlines.However, TT-Line management still do not comprehend disability in any satisfactory way. Keeping wheelchair passengers at the end of the queue when disembarking places unnecessary stress on passengers and staff when a passenger is catching a bus to complete their travel.

This happened to me again at East Devonport after weather delayed docking. Fortunately TassieLink see things differently and their driver rearranged his schedule to allow him to wait while I twiddled my thumbs on board. I apologise to any passengers late for appointments as a result. TassieLink demonstrate that it is possible to run a scheduled service with flexibility and care.

If we wish to create a strong tourist industry in Tasmania more needs to be done by the airlines and shipping companies to demonstrate an across-the-board welcoming travel experience. In particular these organisations need to move from words to actions when dealing with frail or disabled passengers. 

Mal Wilson, George Town.


SENSIBLE comments from Dorset mayor Greg Howard on amalgamations. It is important that we get it right and his suggestion that the City of Launceston should encompass the whole of Launceston and its suburbs is appropriate. This means that Riverside and Prospect should be considered part of the city while Lilydale and Myrtle Park should be attached to Dorset.

If West Tamar and George Town amalgamate, this might precipitate Northern Midlands and Meander amalgamating and a new North East municipality of Dorset, Break O’Day (including Bicheno) and Flinders Island being formed. There is little justification for the state’s present 29 municipalities and the savings through redrawing numbers and boundaries would be mammoth.

Dick James, Launceston.