‘Change The Story’ | Constituency Question & Response

Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) :

My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Training and Skills and the Minister for Higher Education, the Honourable Gayle Tierney, MP. My question relates to the minister’s portfolio responsibilities of training and skills.

The Andrews Labor government has launched an Australian first, the Respect and Equality in TAFE project, ‘Change the story’.

TAFEs are a place for learning, and are essential in contributing to constructing a society which is respectful, equitable and free from violence.

This is why the Andrews Labor government has invested $800 000 to develop this project, which was designed by Our Watch, a national leader of primary prevention of violence against women and their children, in collaboration with five TAFEs: Bendigo Kangan Institute, Chisholm Institute, Melbourne Polytechnic, Swinburne University of Technology, and SuniTAFE.

This project emphasises that everyone involved in TAFE has a role to play in promoting and fostering a culture of gender equality—from boards, CEOs, and senior executives, to managers, human resources staff, educators, student services and students, and industry and community partners.

My question to the minister is: can the minister please provide me with an update on how the government is promoting this important project to students and stakeholders in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region?


Gayle Tierney MP Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education (8 October 2021):

Respect and Equality in TAFE is a quality, evidence-based approach to prevent family violence that is tailored to TAFEs. It provides a step-by-step approach to embedding gender equality in TAFE culture across the workplace, teaching and learning, and communications, and through engagement with students, industry and community. This complements the work currently underway in TAFEs to achieve and promote gender equality in their policies, programs and services in order to meet their obligations under the Gender Equality Act 2020.

I commend all participating TAFE partners for their involvement in the development of Respect and Equality in TAFE: Chisholm Institute, Melbourne Polytechnic, Swinburne University of Technology, Bendigo Kangan Institute, and SuniTAFE.

Respect and Equality in TAFE is transferable to all Victorian TAFEs. I will engage all TAFEs on the opportunity that Respect and Equality in TAFE represents, and I fully expect it will form a useful and valuable guide for TAFEs in the Western Metropolitan Region, including The Gordon, Bendigo Kangan Institute, Melbourne Polytechnic and Victorian Polytechnic.

Many TAFEs are already taking action in this space. For example, Melbourne Polytechnic has delivered ‘all staff’ communications, prepared an implementation plan, established and trained a staff family violence prevention working group, reviewed its capabilities to respond to disclosures of family violence, and commenced a nine-day staff and student campaign titled ‘Take Action for Respect and Equality’ to promote the primary prevention of family violence.

All TAFEs are also preparing to conduct and deliver a Gender Equality Action Plan to the Gender Equality Commissioner by 1 December 2021, to meet the requirements of the Gender Equality Act 2020.

By embedding gender equality messaging across all courses and curriculum, TAFEs are in a unique position to see these messages carry into a range of industries by supporting students to become gender equality voices for change.