PRESS RELEASE – Greens urge community to “Vote for TAFE”

Media release: 4 February 2015

The Liberals and National parties’ savage treatment of TAFE has been utterly rejected by voters in Victoria and Queensland and their NSW colleagues could well be next, according to Greens NSW MP and Education spokesperson John Kaye and Greens candidate Drusi Megget for Port Macquarie.

Dr Kaye said: “Queensland and Victorian voters have overwhelmingly voted against the Liberals and Nationals parties’ destructive and short-sighted agenda of privatising public assets and essential public services like TAFE.

“In NSW the cuts to TAFE’s budget and staff, massive increases in student fee and the ever-increasing flow of public money to dodgy private training providers are also proving to be deeply unpopular with voters.

“The NSW government’s Reskilling NSW package is their first acknowledgement of the appalling damage they have done to TAFE.

“It goes nowhere near restoring TAFE’s viability or recrating the opportunities for education and training that have been lost.

“While $48 million sounds like a lot of money, averaged over 200,000 scholarships, it provides only $240 per student.

“It’s hard to see what TAFE can provide at that rate, given the funding cuts it has already sustained due to the introduction of the Liberals and Nationals’ Smart and Skilled training market.

“NSW Labor’s policy of abolishing Smart and Skilled is a good start but voters should be wary. They are still committed to an historically high 2014 fee schedule and a training market that can eat up 30 per cent of TAFE’s funding.

“When they were in office Labor stripped $1 billion out of TAFE’s budget and it was their federal colleagues under the Gillard government that forced NSW to sign up to the competitive market.

“The Greens restate our commitment to work to end the public funding of all private providers of vocational education and training where a particular course can be offered by TAFE.

“However, our priority must be to stop Smart and Skilled from destroying TAFE.

“Our Plan B is to limit non-TAFE providers to 20% of public funding, to ban any public funds for new non-TAFE providers and prohibit any public funding of for-profit training providers.

“Queensland and Victoria have voted to rescue TAFE from oblivion. On 28 March, NSW will get its turn to vote for TAFE,” said Dr Kaye.

Further information:

Premier Mike Baird’s Reskilling NSW package: http://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases-premier/delivering-skills-growing-economy-free-vocational-scholarships-200000-young

NSW Teachers Federation response: http://www.nswtf.org.au/news/2015/02/02/nsw-tafe-still-under-threat.html

Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s skills reform package: http://www.lukefoley.com.au/nsw_labor_to_rescue_tafe_as_students_hit_with_prohibitive_tafe_fees

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