Greens Senator for NSW and Higher Education spokesperson Lee Rhiannon will meet with Bega TAFE teachers and students today to discuss the impacts of recent NSW government cuts that will see a loss of TAFE staff, an increase in class sizes, reduced course offerings and TAFE students face crippling fee hikes.
“The fact students and staff are meeting with me during TAFE’s semester break shows how committed they are to reversing the TAFE funding cuts and I congratulate them for their campaign,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“Recent statements by the Member for Eden-Monaro Mr Mike Kelly condemning public education cuts ring hollow unless he takes his concerns on behalf of local residents to Canberra.
“While the NSW government is wielding the budget knife over TAFE, the Federal government has also played a role in emasculating the system with COAG reforms introducing competitive tendering in 2008.
“Minister Kelly must make the case for increased federal TAFE funding to the Prime Minister and Federal Skills Minister Chris Evans.
“The Federal government cannot sit on its hands while the NSW government slashes $1.7billion off the education budget that will see 800 jobs lost at TAFE NSW and a 9.5 per cent increase in TAFE fees.
“In NSW a reduction in State and Federal TAFE funding has been coupled with a facilitation of the uncontrolled growth of private for-profit providers.
“O’Farrell TAFE cuts risk NSW following Victoria’s lead in privatising vocational education and training.
“The market-based student entitlement model has failed in Victoria and poses an additional risk to the viability of an already struggling public TAFE system in NSW.
“TAFE is an important pathway for many young people to better jobs, job satisfaction and higher wages.
“Regional TAFE colleges are facing great difficulties providing the high quality vocation education and range of courses that they have traditionally offered.
“Cutting TAFE to the bone and increasing student fees will hurt the South East local economy and see young people leave this region to find skills and work elsewhere.
“The Greens will continue to add our voice to those of local teachers, students, public sector workers, unionists and the South Coast Labor Council Secretary Arthur Rorris who are fighting to stop the cuts and build a flourishing public TAFE system,” Senator Rhiannon said.
More information here about the TAFE campaign