Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens NSW MP John Kaye will be visiting Western Sydney TAFE campuses today to call on local state and federal MPs, both Labor and Liberal, to stop their parties' push to privatise TAFE.
The Greens will meet with students, staff, teachers and community members to discuss how the competitive funding reforms are decimating TAFE in Western Sydney.
Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "Despite the critical importance of TAFE to Western Sydney, its future is now in question.
"The only cure to entrenched youth unemployment is a viable TAFE system to create a skilled and educated workforce.
"Bankstown, Miller and Mt Druitt colleges are critical to the future of employment and apprenticeship opportunities.
"NSW and federal governments, both Labor and Coalition, have stripped TAFE of guaranteed funding, with disastrous consequences for students, teachers, staff and the community.
"TAFE faces an uncertain future as more than $600 million is set to be stripped out of its guaranteed budget and pushed into the competitive market.
"The Baird government has already decimated TAFE.
"More than a thousand of teachers and support staff have lost their jobs with hundreds more at risk in Western Sydney alone.
"Courses have been cancelled, teaching contact hours reduced and students abandoned to on-line learning.
"One third of the state's vocational education budget is being handed over to the competitive market where profit-focused private providers can cherry-pick the cheap-to-provide courses and lower needs students.
"Quality and accessibility are being scarified in the race to the bottom.
"TAFE in NSW is on the same path as Victoria and Queensland, where it has become a victim of Labor and Liberal-National obsession with markets, competition and privatisation," Dr Kaye said.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "The Abbott government is effectively waging war against the public TAFE system.
"If we don't stop their brutal plan the impacts will be felt for generations to come.
"The Senate Inquiry into vocational education gathered evidence on TAFE's critical role.
"We heard about how vital TAFE is from a young vision impaired refugee from Ghana. TAFE assisted him to learn Australian sign language and get a job; and from a steel worker who became a quadriplegic from a workplace accident but TAFE helped him have a second chance. He is now a qualified design instructor.
"The combined federal and state Coalition government cuts to TAFE mean that now people like these two young men would no longer qualify for TAFE assistance and they would be denied pathways back into the workforce.
"The Greens in federal and state parliaments are calling for guaranteed funding for public TAFE based on the real costs of providing education including delivery to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with a disability.
"We are travelling around NSW, starting in Western Sydney, to issue a challenge to politicians from all parties.
"Privatisation policies are driving TAFE to the brink and without a change of direction there is every chance the next generation will be cut out of the opportunities that we have all taken for granted.
"No politician can ignore what is happening to TAFE and the consequences for Western Sydney and the rest of Australia," Senator Rhiannon said.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455 and Lee Rhiannon 0487 350 880
When and Where:
8:45 am Bankstown TAFE, 500 Chapel Road, Bankstown
10:00 am Miller TAFE, Banks Road, Miller
12:00 pm Mt Druitt TAFE, Mount Street, Mt Druitt