|John outside Grafton TAFE during the Clarence byelection|
Media release: 7 June 2012
Greens NSW MP John Kaye is visiting the New England region on Friday to offer his party's support to school and TAFE teachers and their communities reeling from the O'Farrell government's attacks on public schools and TAFE colleges.
Dr Kaye, who will be addressing public meetings in both Tamworth and Armidale on Friday, said: "The O'Farrell government has picked up where its Labor predecessors left off in cutting back and squeezing money out of public schools and TAFE colleges.
"Disguised as educational reform, the Coalition is implementing the recommendations of the Boston Consulting Group. The report, commissioned by Labor, identified $1 billion in potential savings from the NSW education budget.
"Since its election in March 2011, the O'Farrell government has been busy undermining cooperation between teachers and compromising student outcomes.
"First it passed wage-freeze legislation to cut the real salaries of teachers. Schools and TAFE colleges have been forced to cut back teaching programs and working conditions to achieve so-called 'efficiencies'.
"Now the state-wide roll out of the schools devolution agenda will inevitably lead to less money for public schools in the New England region.
"Principals will be forced to wear the blame for every budget cut. When there is not enough money to pay for both school counsellors and special needs teachers, it will be the local school leadership who have to shoulder the responsibility.
"Pressure on school budgets will inevitably lead to the replacement of permanent teachers with cheaper casuals.
"Parents will be outraged when their child is taught by an ever changing series of different casuals instead of a permanent teacher.
"The Coalition is also refusing to find the money to replace unflued gas heaters replacement. In Opposition they were highly critical of Labor's miserly approach but once in government a state-wide replacement becomes a generation's away dream.
"The future of TAFE and the benefits it brings to the New England region are also at risk from budget cuts and privatisation.
"Across Australia, TAFE is experiencing massive cuts, with the Baillieu government slashing $290 million a year from Victoria's skills education budget and putting more than 1,500 jobs at risk. All the signs point to a similarly tough budget for TAFE in NSW on Tuesday next week.
"The O'Farrell government has signed on to a contestability model which will force TAFE in NSW to compete with low cost, low quality private training organisations.
"HECS-like income-contingent loans will plunge thousands of TAFE students in New England into debt.
"Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson should be insisting on a better deal for TAFE.
"TAFE is an essential public service that creates pathways for engagement for individuals who would otherwise be unemployed or under-employed, particularly for youth in regional areas like New England.
"The Liberals and Nationals' obsession with slashing the public education budget will come at a terrible long-term cost to the economy. It will undermine this state's future as a healthy, socially and culturally cohesive society", said Dr Kaye.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455