Gayle Tierney understands the importance of communities and has dedicated her professional life to enhancing opportunities for the people she represents and works with. A constant has been the importance she has placed on access to education which is integral to thriving communities and economies. She is passionate about equality and creating opportunities for all members of society, and has a keen focus on building opportunities for women and culturally and linguistically diverse Victorians. These core values underpinned her commitment to become a Member of Parliament, which was achieved in 2006.
Gayle was appointed as Minister for Training and Skills, and Minister for Corrections in November 2016. Following the 2018 Victorian State Election, she was appointed as Minister for Training and Skills, and Minister for Higher Education. In 2020 Gayle was appointed Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council.
Minister Tierney has implemented significant reforms to create a world class Skills, Training and Higher Education System in Victoria. Key programs and policies which have driven this reform are the introduction of Free TAFE in 2019 and the establishment of Apprenticeships Victoria, The Victorian Skills Authority and the Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery in 2021.
Minister Tierney understands that quality underpins a world class system, which is driven by a holistic approach. She has been determined to unite the system where Adult Community Education, TAFEs, Industry RTOs, Universities and members of industry all have a lead role to play in ensuring a cohesive and strategic Skills, Training and Higher Education system. The outcome is to provide a strong, sustainable and innovative system that will benefit all Victorians socially and economically, now and for future generations.
As Minister she has overseen important investment in capital works with the Building Better TAFES Fund to ensure Victorians have access to state of the art facilities. This has been coupled with significant scholarship programs for teachers and trainers to support professional development and expertise which is critical for students, employers and creating the pipeline of skilled workers for Victoria.
Minister Tierney’s commitment to public provision was exemplified during 2020 and 2021 when Victoria was experiencing the height of the global pandemic. Support for the sector and students was first and foremost in her mind. Business Continuity Grants were established, and the creation of the Victorian State Higher Education Investment Fund ensured that Victoria’s Training and Higher Education system could adapt to the pandemic environment and importantly deliver skills and training that leads to careers. The Higher Education Investment Fund was instrumental in driving research and innovation to create real time opportunities and importantly to strengthen Victoria’s future.
As the Member for Western Victoria, she is dedicated to the quality provision of health, education, infrastructure and community services. She understands the unique qualities of the region and is committed to enhancing employment opportunities, collaborating with industry and maximising potential for all stakeholders. She is committed to ensuring the government has a regional focus on important decision making.
The areas of public policy that she is most passionate about are the provision of excellence in education, training and skills, regional infrastructure. employment, economic growth and sustainability, gender equality, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.
Before entering Parliament Gayle was the first woman to become a State Secretary of the Vehicle Division of the traditionally male-dominated Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, serving in this role from 1993 to 2006, and also as the Federal President from 2000 to 2006. Gayle also served on the Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) from 2000 to 2006.