Students, unions join forces at ’Gong TAFE protest

Wollongong TAFE and university students and staff – with support from South Coast Labour Council unions – were out in force on Friday, 14 May, to protest the Federal Government’s Budget measures.

Union delegates and students addressed the large protest meeting at Wollongong University urging the Federal Government to guarantee funding for TAFE and universities.

South Coast Labour Council (SCLC) Secretary Arthur Rorris told the crowd “TAFE and universities were the key to addressing the skill shortage issues”.

Federation representatives told the rally, Australia needs mandated quotas of apprentices to tradespeople, and guaranteed funding for pre-apprenticeships.

The “snap rally”, organised by the SCLC, was supported by Federation TAFE and schools members, the Public Service Association, National Tertiary Education Union, United Services Union, Electrical Trades Union, Australian Workers Union, Maritime Union of Australia plus local government Greens councillors and community members.  

The Government’s policies for apprentices and trainees over the past eight years have failed, and resulted in 148,000 fewer apprentices in 2020 compared with 2013 when the Coalition was first elected.

Wage subsidies for employers is not enough to increase the number of Australians employed as apprentices.

You can support the campaign at