Council pushes for education review

Grant District Council has carried a motion that could see the Federal Government pursued regarding an ongoing review of the further education budget for the Limestone Coast.

Following a notice of motion from Mayor Richard Sage, councillors voted in favour of further education advocacy, with a particular emphasis on ensuring TAFE is retained – and remains relevant – in the region. “Further education budget and systems need to be reset to make each state more responsible for reinvigorating and engaging to make them more relevant in this changing time,” Mayor Sage wrote in his notice of motion.

Mayor Sage claimed that, before the pandemic, there was a push to privatise further education systems with the skills for all in South Australia and Victoria. He said much of the training was aimed at the unemployed with a “majority of it not making or achieving the goals set”.

The cost to the states and further education system, he said, had “brought it to the brink” with budget blow-outs and loss of impetus and loss of training facilities and educators.

“Now with the pandemic and its challenges, the need to retrain, up-skill and re-engage our youth should be the emphasis on a new way,” Mayor Sage wrote. “To go back to basics, facilitate pathways for employment and life choices and make these skill sets more relevant to the current day needs of our communities and industries. Regional areas are losing courses, lecturers and facilities and the private firms appear unable to fill this void.”

Mayor Sage’s motion, which was moved by Cr Peter Duncan and seconded by Cr Barry Kuhl, would have the council write to the 2021 Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) General Assembly regarding the matter. From here, the council would request the ALGA consider pursuing the federal government to undertake an ongoing enquiry into the current education system and the funding models of the states and territories.

Convened annually by the ALGA, the National General Assembly of Local Government is the peak annual event for local government, attracting more than 800 mayors and councillors each year.

The event provides an opportunity for local governments to engage directly with the federal government, to develop national policy and to influence the future direction of the ALGA’s councils and its communities.

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