A campaign against controversial funding cuts to TAFE colleges will be launched throughout the north coast tomorrow (Tuesday).
Greens MPs and teacher-union organisers urging protection of funding for the colleges will visit campuses in Lismore and Grafton, before presenting their case at a public forum in Lismore tomorrow night at 6pm at the New Tattersalls Hotel, in Keen Street.
The ‘Stop Privatisation Before it Stops TAFE’ campaign, they say, calls on the federal Coalition and Labor parties to recognise that their competitive funding policies, such as Smart and Skilled, are destroying TAFE and undermining the ability of students to access affordable educational opportunities.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens NSW MP John Kaye will be joined by NSW Teachers Federation organiser Kathy Nicholson to outline some examples of ‘the real damage being done to regional TAFE colleges by the coalition’s “Smart and Skilled” regime’.
Dr Kaye said some courses at Kingscliff TAFE have been scrapped as a result.
He said the Greens plan to secure at least 85 per cent of contestable funding available for TAFE.
Senator Rhiannon said she will call for ‘an end to the current situation where TAFE is being forced to compete for public money with private providers who are ripping off vulnerable students to fatten up their profits while TAFE haemorrhages student enrolments, courses and staff numbers’.
Dr Kaye, who is also a member of the NSW Upper House committee examining the future of the post-school training sector, said he will urge communities on the north coast ‘to let the upcoming inquiry know that TAFE’s funding must be protected’.
The campus visits will be held at 12.30pm, Tuesday, at Lismore TAFE (64 Conway Street) and at 3pm at Wollongbar TAFE campus (61 Sneaths Road, Wollongbar).