Greens TAFE spokesperson, Dawn Walker has rallied with community members and Teachers Federation representatives outside Murwillumbah TAFE to call on the Liberal-National State Government to rule-out closing the campus, which was first slated for sale back in 2015.
“The National Party and outgoing Lismore MP, Thomas George, have been working hard to spruketheir new ‘digital TAFE hubs’ known as Connected Learning Centres, but closing TAFE campuses is their real agenda.
“Whenever I pressure the Government about the sale of TAFE campuses, such as Murwillumbah, their standard line is ‘where there is a TAFE today, there will be a TAFE tomorrow’, but what they don’t say is what that TAFE will look like.
“The community expect a proper and well-resourced TAFE campus here in Murwillumbah, not a tacky shop-front with a few computer terminals. The National Party need to come clean with our community and promise not to close Murwillumbah TAFE campus when they install a shopfront.
“It’s not good enough to cut yet another service out of growing Murwillumbah given the high levels of unemployment and the number of young people who rely on TAFE for their education and training.
“While this Government spends a lot of time posturing on TAFE, behind the scenes they are selling-off our TAFE campuses, cutting teaching staff and replacing face-to-face learning with online modules in shopfronts. This will have a devastating impact on learning outcomes for many students, especially those requiring extra support services.
“I’ve already visited the first TAFE shopfront in Dapto, near Wollongong where a once-thriving TAFE campus with 650 students has been replaced with a pop-up shopfront with no library, no toilets and minimal support for students. It’s embarrassing quite frankly, and regional communities should be very alarmed about this Government’s ongoing attempts to undermine our public TAFE system" said Dawn Walker.
Former TAFE student Rebecca Mitchell, who completed a Tertiary preparation certificate in 2016 before moving to law at Southern Cross University, credited her TAFE experience with creating a pathway she could pursue.
"I'm dyslexic and without the support staff and teachers here I would never have done it. It's the staff here at Murwillumbah that did it, by offering support, by telling me I could do it, by giving guidance and staying back when they didn't have to” she said.