|Stop TAFE cuts|
Rising fees, job losses and fewer course options will have a particularly devastating impact on regional communities like Grafton, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Teachers, students, union representatives and concerned community members will join Dr Kaye as he visits Grafton today to call on local Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis to back the Greens Save TAFE Bill.
Dr Kaye said: "Before the March 2011 election, Chris Gulaptis' two most senior National party colleagues signed a pre-election pledge to support TAFE .
"Both the leader and Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner and deputy leader and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli promised to protect TAFE.
"Since coming to power the Nationals, together with their Liberal Coalition partners, have broken every one of those commitments to TAFE.
"They have cut the budget, reduced staff numbers and slashed courses.
"Education Minister and National MP Adrian Piccoli, who also signed the pledge, is redirecting public funding into private for-profit training corporations.
"Chris Gulaptis cannot escape his responsibility for the future of TAFE in his electorate.
"He must make the leaders of his party live up to their promises and create a strong future for TAFE.
"This is not just a matter of integrity and keeping election promises. It is about the future of the North Coast community and its ability to sustain itself through challenging economic times in the future.
"It is not too late to save TAFE if Mr Gulaptis and his colleagues act now.
"He can still make good on his leader's commitments by voting for the Greens Save TAFE Bill that would stop 'Smart and Skilled' and protect the public sector provider as the 5 point pledge demands.
"I wrote to Mr Gulaptis this week calling on him to live up to his leaders' pre-election promise to protect TAFE and support the Greens bill when it is debated in the lower house.
"Mr Gulaptis could start to rebuild voters' faith in the Nationals and in the political process.
"The popular TAFE Fine Arts courses have been de-funded with devastating social and economic impacts across the North Coast in particular.
"Over 1,000 teachers and support staff will be removed from TAFE under the Liberals and Nationals government. The North Coast Institute will feel the heat of those cuts.
"The Clarence community relies on a high quality, affordable TAFE system to help combat youth unemployment and a declining manufacturing industry.
"TAFE has a history of operating annexes and small colleges in smaller country towns, but private providers will seek the more efficient solution of aggregating services into big centres.
"This scenario will drain the regional skills base and force young people to either move to the city or travel long distances on country roads often at night to access courses.
"Time is running out for TAFE. All TAFE Institutes including the North Coast have been put on notice to get ready for Smart and Skilled training market starting 1 January 2015, just three months from the state election," said Dr Kaye.
Copies of the Greens TAFE Change Moratorium Bill 2014 and a bill briefing note are available on request.
NSW Teachers Federation 5 point pledge signed by Nationals leader and now Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner and deputy leader and now Education Minister Adrian Piccoli in March 2011 committing them to:
1. Invest in services - Government must guarantee TAFE funding.
2. Look after public assets - Ensure that TAFE jobs and courses are not contracted out to the private sector.
3. Plan long-term - Invest in infrastructure for TAFE that ensures a skilled workforce.
4. Back our workers - Increase permanent teaching positions and invest in teacher training.
5. Govern for the common good- Ensure that everyone in NSW has affordable access to a TAFE education.
NSW Liberals and Nationals record on TAFE in government since March 2011:
1. TAFE's funding: this year's budget revealed that TAFE NSW total expenditure ($1.862 billion) has been cut in real terms by $51.7 million. In 2012 the Liberals and Nationals announced that a total of $800 million would be cut from TAFE's budget over four years.
2. Privatisation: the NSW 2014/15 Budget indicates that only $1.1 billion of TAFE's budgeted income of $1.8 billion will be guaranteed. Further, the budget reveals that total contestable funding to the VET sector is anticipated to be $635.3 million, of which $206.4 million will go to TAFE and $428.9 million to private providers.
The NSW government is about to dump TAFE into competition with low cost, frequently lower quality private providers who will cherry pick the cheaper-to-deliver courses and the easier-to-teach students.
'Smart and Skilled' is the NSW equivalent to the Victorian skills reforms. The VET sector in that state is in crisis with massive budget blow-outs, job losses, plummeting student enrolments and TAFE campus closures.
3. TAFE's capital budget Capital expenditure has declined from $163m in 2009-10 to $90m in 2013-14 to $77m in this budget.
4. The 2014-15 budget indicates that over the 2011-2015 period over 1,000 full-time equivalent positions will be removed from TAFE NSW.
5. Fees are set to rise dramatically for many students under Smart and Skilled. If students can actually successfully navigate the enormous complexity of the new fees structure, they will be forced to contribute between 25% and 45% of the cost of their skills education. For 20% of students this will mean fee increases of more than $1,000 and for 12% of students, fee increases of more than $1,500.
Details of additional "Community Service Obligation" funds are yet to be revealed but are unlikely to provide TAFE with the money it needs to serve disadvantaged communities including in rural and regional areas.
Wed, 27 Aug 2014