Greens launch new bill to ‘defend’ TAFE from cuts and closures

NSW Greens TAFE spokesperson, Dawn Walker MP has introduced a new ‘Defend TAFE’ bill into the State Parliament that aims to protect NSW’s public TAFE system from further campus closures and privatisation.

“TAFE has endured a decade of debilitating cuts from both Liberal and Labor Governments, as well as being undermined by greedy, for-profit private providers offering inadequate training courses.

“Since the introduction of their so called ‘Smart and Skilled program’ in 2015, this Liberal-National Government has further slashed funds to vocational education and training by $1.7 billion and diverted taxpayer funds towards subsidising private colleges with abysmal track-records of rorting and poor teaching standards.

“TAFE now has to compete for approximately 25% of the Vocational Education and Training budget and this figure has risen since the Liberal-Nationals came to power. We’re very concerned that TAFE is having its funding chipped away and being forced to compete with low-quality private providers.

“The next blow to hit our TAFE system under this Government is the widespread closure of TAFE campuses, which will be replaced with tacky, pop-up shopfronts that don’t offer adequate practical skills training for TAFE students.

“Campus closures have already happened in communities like Dapto, Quirindi and Tenterfield, with many more to follow. This loss of face-to-face teaching will have a devastating impact on the learning outcomes for many students, especially those requiring extra learning support or services.

“It’s high time the NSW Government realised that their shameful agenda to privatise vocational education is failing. The Greens’ new ‘Defend TAFE’ bill offers them the chance to re-set their disastrous TAFE agenda. 

“Specifically the Greens new ‘Defend TAFE’ will do two things:

· Guarantee that all public funding goes to the NSW TAFE system, rather than a portion available to for-profit, private providers.

· Ensure all current NSW TAFE campuses are retained as public assets reserved for educational and training purposes that cannot be sold off.

“As we face a national skills drought in trades, it’s our public TAFE system that needs to be restored as a world leader in providing practical, vocational training to help young people gain employment and assist older Australians to re-enter the workforce.

“I’m calling on all parties to support the Greens’ new ‘Defend TAFE’ bill so we can restore our public TAFEs to the world-class, vocational training system that it once was” said Dawn Walker MP.

Dawn Walker gave notice of the Greens new ‘Defend TAFE’ bill last week and hopes it will be debated in early 2018.

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