North Coast TAFE campuses are suffering a downturn in enrolments and the closure of courses as a result of Federal Government funding policies, according to the NSW Greens.
The Greens yesterday launched their new campaign “Stop Privatisation Before it Stops TAFE” on the North Coast. Senators visited campuses and held forums as part of the launch.
Senator Lee Rhiannon said it was time for a change of direction to protect TAFE from privatisation.
‘Rising fees, declining enrolments at TAFE and a devastating loss of staff are the result of a 2012 national agreement between the former Gillard Labor government and the NSW Coalition,’ Ms Rhiannon said
Greens MP Dr John Kaye said the next Federal election would present an opportunity to fix the mess left by the Gillard and Abbott governments.
‘TAFE campuses on the North Coast are showing the distressing signs of a system in trouble,’ Dr Kaye said.
‘State and federal Nationals MPs have turned a blind eye to the devastation of TAFE colleges in their electorates under the contestable market framework.
‘While North Coast TAFE management claims that there has been an increase in enrolments this year, the raw numbers do not tell the real story.
‘Teachers are reporting that enrolments are significantly down in campuses across the North Coast.
‘At Wollongbar campus, teachers have been told that the horticulture section is ‘under review’ with jobs at serious risk due to insufficient funding under the Liberals and Nationals’ ‘Smart and Skilled’ training market to run programs such as arboriculture and floristry.
Dr Kaye said a NSW Upper House committee inquiring into the future of TAFE would visit Lismore in September.
‘This is an important opportunity for North Coast residents to make their voices heard and demand an end to competitive funding and privatisation,’ Dr Kaye said.
“The ‘Smart and Skilled’ training market that implements the national agreement in NSW is now pushing the state down the same disastrous path as Victoria where TAFE has just 27 percent of enrolments in vocational education and training.