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Posted: May 29, 2012 by guryel in Deakin University, Education, Geelong

by Guryel Ali

A public rally in Geelong  has been organised on Thursday at Johnstone Park to protest the Baillieu Government’s savage $300m budget cut to Victorian TAFE institutes.

The Geelong Council, Geelong Trades Hall and Community leaders have committed strong support to organisers, the Australian Education Union (AEU). Rosemary Crowe, Barwon Regional Organiser for the AEU, said the cuts are already having devastating effects to the sector. “What we are looking at is whole courses being closed. We are looking at about 2000 jobs being lost; this includes teachers and administrative support staff…already, we have redundancies across the board, in every single TAFE now.”

This week Geelong’s Gordon TAFE announced closures for distance education courses with more expected.

The Gordon, this year, celebrates 125 years of serving the Geelong region. Today there are some 800 staff and 19,000 students. With its long history it has had significant impact on Geelong families. Cr Jan Farrell, from the Geelong Council, said “the rally is not just an AEU protest, but a chance for the general public to show support for the Gordon.”

AEU branch president, Mary Bluett, who will address the Thursday rally, has publicly condemned the Government as “heartless,” when compassion was called for, “We’ve seen 43,000 jobs lost in this state in the past 12 months. Where are these people going to come to retrain and get another chance of employment? Our public TAFEs.”

The Geelong rally is part of the AEU ongoing campaign, “tafe4all” which adds its backing to rallies that have already taken place in Ballarat and Melbourne with numbers exceeding expectations. Officials, teachers, students and supporters of the Gordon, will assemble at Johnstone Park between 12:15 and 1:15 lunchtime and are urged to voice their protest against the TAFE cuts online at tafe4all with direct messages to government and local MPs.

by  Guryel Ali


On Sunday Geelong’s dog population gathered at Eastern Gardens, a show of overwhelming support of the RSPCA Million Paws Walk, the organisation’s biggest fundraising event on the canine calendar. Pooches, yappers and shaggy dogs of all sizes turned up with their owners, making for a wonderful day out for the family.

Ebony McCarthy, Geelong coordinator for the walk, said the event was a huge success with thousands present on the day and figures up from 2011.

“To be able to get a group of people together en masse is brilliant, and every year they keep coming back; they are very supportive and the numbers are growing each year.”

Despite the numbers there were very few disturbances. MC for the day, Jody Keating, said “No matter how many dogs we have there are never any spats, they’re all so well behaved. Occasionally one gets off the lead and does some laps with the owner giving chase.”

Some match making going on?

Money raised for the RSPCA  supports:

  • RSPCA programs,
  • adoption,
  • veterinary services,
  • campaigns, and
  • Inspectorate Services

The event was blessed with beautiful weather, giving the day a carnival feel. Market stalls were in place offering food and the aroma of freshly ground coffee; a sausage sizzle, and homemade Dutch pancakes. Geelong Vet clinics were represented, along with Dog Whisperers for some doggie advice. There were pet care displays, demonstrations and dogs on show.  Prizes were on offer for cutest pet, waggiest tail and best trick. The Clonard College rock band performed live on stage, while Half Cat drew plenty of attention and managed to keep the hounds at bay.

The annual event raises much needed funds for the RSPCA. The Geelong leg of the metro- regional walk raised some $22,000, on the way to the Victorian $500,000 target. You can still show your support online at