The Australian Greens say the Abbott government has again sided with private interests over public education in its decision to withhold money from South Australia because of the states' new policy of prioritising TAFE in the provision of training.
Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon today said: "The South Australian government has started to realise the significant problems associated with the current national partnership agreement on training and have moved to prioritise the public sector, something the federal government should take on board.
"Instead, the Federal Coalition government is blackmailing the South Australian government by withholding $65 million in public funding for the provision of training.
"The TAFE sector all over the country has been severely drained of funding because of the national partnership agreement and is in a very dire state with staff, student and course cuts all over the country, while private, for profit training companies have made a motza
"It's time for the federal government to review the agreement with a view to prioritising TAFE.
South Australian Greens Senator and spokesperson for schools Penny Wright said: "A $65 million budget cut to South Australia's TAFE sector will cause irreversible damage.
"This just shows the Abbott Government's twisted priorities. They are hell-bent on ensuring their mates in the private higher education and the vocational training sector are well looked after - all at the expense of South Australia's much-valued TAFE system.
"The Coalition should stop threatening South Australia and withholding these absolutely necessary public funds.
Brami Jegan for Senator Rhiannon - 0487 350 880
Danielle Forsyth for Senator Wright - 0417 173 508