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Greens push Illawarra Labor to back new national TAFE agreement

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 23 May 2016

The Greens are calling on Labor candidates in the Illawarra to protect local TAFEs and restore the public TAFE system by backing the demand for the National Partnership Agreement to be rewritten so it excludes all for profit private companies from any involvement in vocational education and training.

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said, "As the public TAFE system plays a key role in training the Illawarra workforce I strongly urge local Labor candidates to add their support to the call for a new National Partnership Agreement. 

"While the Greens priority in this election is to defeat the Turnbull government we are using every opportunity to push Labor to reverse the damaging pro-corporate policies introduced when they were in government.

"When Julia Gillard was Education Minister she introduced in 2012 with support from the Coalition, the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform. The agreement created a set of training entitlements that students could cash in at TAFE or with a private provider.

"This Agreement allowed private providers to expand their operations in the vocational education and training sector and to maximise their profits by cutting staff time and course standards.

"Surely Labor candidates recognise that to secure the future of public TAFE institutions we need to change the rules so no public money goes to private providers at the expense of TAFE.

Greens Cunningham candidate Cath Blakey backed the call to Labor.

"A top priority in this election campaign is to strengthen the public TAFE system and to close the door to the exploitative companies that boost their profits by offering low-cost, low-quality education.

"TAFE in the Illawarra has been so severely cut that training standards have been seriously compromised by private registered training organisations.

"The Greens starting point to restore our local public TAFE institution is to renegotiate the National Agreement and to end the contestability market that is driving down course quality, increasing student fees and causing experienced staff to leave.

Greens Whitlam candidate Tom Hunt said "Labor candidates in the Illawarra should add their voice to this campaign.

"The Illawarra needs to secure the future of TAFE. The current VET system and the associated funding cuts inflicted on TAFE contributes to long-term local unemployment," Mr Hunt said. 

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