August 23, 2012

Howard Labels Ramsay Behaviour Pathetic

Geoff Howard MP, State Member for Ballarat East, today condemned regional Liberal MP
Simon Ramsay for attempting to direct attention away from the Baillieu government cuts to TAFE by attacking individuals who oppose the cuts.

The Baillieu government has recently slashed funding to TAFE across this region with Ballarat University advising that its TAFE budget will be cut by a massive $20 million next year causing it to cut TAFE courses by over 30%.

“Instead of supporting the hundreds of people who may have benefited from these courses
Mr Ramsay has chosen to use his time in Parliament last week and in the media to
attack me and one of my staff members for supporting the many community members
who want to see this funding reinstated,” Mr Howard said.

Mr Howard said that he had been contacted by many community members including, parents, students and teachers who are very concerned that these changes will take job
pathway opportunities away from people for whom TAFE can provide so important.

“I am not apologetic for speaking out against these cuts,” he said.

“Likewise my staff member, Brett Edgington, who has been singled out by Mr Ramsay, is
concerned to support constituents who are worried by the changes.”

Mr Edgington is also a member of Ballarat Trades and Labour Council and was last
year elected president of that group, a role he receives no income from and
undertakes in out-of-hours time.

Mr Howard said that he supported Mr Edgington’s right to do so.

“The Trades and Labour Council along with many other groups and individuals are also
opposed to the TAFE cuts.”

“By attacking Mr Edgington Mr Ramsay is really trying to shoot just one of the many
messengers,” Mr Howard added.

Mr Howard described the action as pathetic behaviour and said that rather than
shooting the messengers Mr Ramsay should be listening to the message which is
coming from so many of the people he was elected to represent.

“They rightly expect him to support his electorate and he should be doing this by
also asking his party leader Mr Baillieu to review his position on his
excessive TAFE cuts,” he said.