Funding “Lifestyle Choices”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/livenature/177452444/in/photolist-4Pxk26-89V88b-jnvjL-wNJFYq-w9uGEB-Git3BT-x5A2Zd-w9jao9-w9p4LX-x41PtC-w9jaxs-x5B5dj-wNSuir-x6T1Gn-wNHTms-wNQJXF-gFuqU-8EqTJz-jnuxt-ckB4o7-7GSUPW-hdKfu-a47dtq-gdbf4A-6B77Qt-wNSzPB-wNJnDm-wNKG1s-w9kcEm-wNRxce-x6mBXi-x6n3WM-Fo1XwS-x42Eiw-x42F99-Git3LF-x5rX1m-wNAgDb-cdgkxm

Sorry guys, but you’ll have to give up the Advanced Diploma of Commercial Song and Dance Performance and take up Agricultural Engineering .
pic by Franco Folin

Does this list of “lifestyle-related” training courses look gay to you?

The Department of Education has decided a whole raft of arts-related courses will no longer be eligible for funding. The changes remove what the government calls ‘lifestyle-related’ training courses to focus on training that ‘should’ lead to jobs and benefit the country economically.

Glancing over the list, it appears that the government is blind to the economic contribution made by photography, journalism, dance, theatre, cinema, and television. And to the contribution professionals in these fields make to other industries.

James Norman wrote in The Age:

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics the arts contributed $86 billion to the Australian economy in 2014 – more than the transport or welfare sectors. Added to that nearly 20 million Australians over the age of 15 attend art events annually. So even on economic grounds the minister’s thinking seems flawed and ideologically based.

It seems to me that the list of dumped courses heavily weighted with professions in which women and gay men in particular are strongly represented, whereas the funded courses – engineering and agriculture, for example – have a strong heterosexual male bias.

Does this explain the minister’s rather curious phrase – “lifestyle choices” – to describe courses his government won’t support? Has some of the strong anti-gay bias in other segments of this deeply reactionary government seeped into the Department of Education?

Arts journalist Richard Watts reported that Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said:

“In total, 478 vocational courses will be dropped from the list of subjects eligible for taxpayer funded support in the form of student loans; 374 courses will continue to be supported. Funding for student loans for all creative programs has been capped at $10,000, compared to $15,000 for agriculture and engineering.”

Cut

  • Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
  • Diploma of Musical Theatre
  • Diploma of Live Production Design
  • Diploma of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts Industry Work
  • Diploma of Ceramics
  • Advanced Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
  • Diploma of Floristry Design
  • Diploma of Jewellery and Object Design
  • Advanced Diploma of Jewellery and Object Design
  • Diploma of Broadcast Technology
  • Advanced Diploma of Performance
  • Graduate Diploma of Classical Ballet
  • Diploma of Performing Arts
  • Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts
  • Diploma of Fashion Styling
  • Diploma of Screen Acting
  • Diploma of Screen Performance
  • Advanced Diploma of Acting

‘To develop this list, the Turnbull Government has run a test over all of the different diploma-level and above qualifications that are out there to ensure they are on at least two state and territory skills needs lists, and we’ve looked at other areas of high economic need, such as STEM skills or agricultural skills, to make sure the list represents our national economic priorities.’

Cut

  • Diploma of Circus Arts
  • Diploma of Social Media Marketing
  • Advanced Diploma of Acting for Contemporary Screen Media
  • Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts
  • Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship for Creatives
  • Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance
  • Diploma of Arts (Acting)
  • Advanced Diploma of Arts (Acting)
  • Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting
  • Graduate Diploma of Elite Dance Instruction
  • Advanced Diploma of Stage and Screen Acting
  • Diploma of Visual Communication (Design Communication / Photo Communication)
  • Advanced Diploma of Visual Communication (Design Communication / Photo Communication)
  • Advanced Diploma of Music Theatre
  • Diploma of Cinemagraphic Makeup
  • Diploma of Styling (Fashion, Image and Media)
  • Advanced Diploma of Commercial Song and Dance Performance
  • Diploma of Journalism
  • Advanced Diploma of Art (Musical Theatre and Commercial Dance)
  • Advanced Diploma of Film, Television and Theatre Acting
  • Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts (Acting)

‘Currently there are far too many courses that are being subsidised that are used simply to boost enrolments, or provide “lifestyle” choices, but don’t lead to work. VET Student Loans will only support legitimate students to undertake worthwhile and value-for-money courses at quality training providers,’ he said.

Cut

  • Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing
  • Advanced Diploma of Photography
  • Diploma of Theatre Arts
  • Diploma of Product Design
  • Advanced Diploma of Screen and Stage Acting
  • Diploma of Creative Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Advanced Diploma of Creative Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Advanced Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing)
  • Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing)
  • Diploma of Mass Communication
  • Advanced Diploma of Photography
  • Diploma of Performing Arts
  • Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts
  • Graduate Diploma of Photography
  • Diploma of Fashion Products and Markets
  • Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) (Commercial Dance)
  • Advanced Diploma of Animation

‘Vocational education and training is fundamental to Australia’s future success as we transition to a 21st century economy. It offers skills that are in high demand and provides broad post-school study options for students.We want to ensure that the courses that Australian taxpayers are subsidising and that we are encouraging students to study, will optimise employment outcomes.’

Some may scoff, but as a wise old friend once told me, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.” Whether by unconscious ‘accident’ or conscious design, this list will hit LGBTI and women.

A list of all the macho eligible courses and other information is available here.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years.

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)