Greens spokesperson on TAFE Senator Lee Rhiannon has said the last minute cancellation of the Wollongong hearing of the Senate Inquiry into technical and further education is insulting to the people of the Illawarra.
"The cancellation is a serious setback to the Senate's work on the future of vocational education and training and points to a political decision behind the no show of Coalition Senators in Wollongong today," Senator Rhiannon said.
"The people of Wollongong deserve an explanation why with less than 24 hours to go before hearings were to be held, the Senate TAFE Inquiry has been cancelled.
"The policies of the Coalition and Labor parties in recent years have cut back TAFE operations and resulted in many job losses. The Wollongong Inquiry is crucial to understanding the impacts their policies are having.
"Many local people have put in considerable effort preparing submissions and their evidence to present to the hearing.
"I will be in Wollongong today to meet with locals and hear the evidence they had planned to present to the full inquiry.
"Tomorrow at the Sydney hearing I will seek leave to table their statements.
"Illawarra TAFE had been identified as an important source of information for the Senate to understand the impact funding cuts and unfair competition from private providers is having on vocational education and training in regional areas.
"With its 14 campuses stretching down the coast and across the Southern Highlands, Illawarra
TAFE is just one of two regional visits the nationwide Senate inquiry was due to undertake.
"At the end of last year, the Senate agreed to my Greens motion for this inquiry into TAFE. The commitment was for a truly national inquiry with an emphasis on the role of TAFE in regional areas. To date the Brisbane and Wollongong hearings have been cancelled," Senator Rhiannon said.
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