A leaked document has exposed a plan to sell the Murwillumbah TAFE building along with other TAFE buildings across the state.
North Coast Greens spokesperson Dawn Walker said a leaked document labeled ‘cabinet in confidence’ showed the government was considering stripping $63million from TAFE buildings and land.
Ms Walker said the document showed that Murwillumbah campus had been lined up for sale or downsizing, as had Chullora, Epping, Belrose, Scone, Dapto, Vincentia, Maclean, Corowa, Narrandera and Grenfell.
She called on National MPs Thomas George and Geoff Provest to explain why there were turning their backs on the region.
‘Murwillumbah TAFE is in trouble as the loss of buildings, facilities and land is a one way street to privatisation of vocational education,’ Ms Walker said.
‘The frightening reality is that TAFE is being lined up for substantial down-sizing with the clear objective of a smaller public system.
‘This is exactly what happened in Victoria with devastating consequences for the quality of skills and the ability of young people to gain vocational education.
‘The Baird Government has been pushing up fees, cutting back on courses at TAFE and reducing support for students and this is dampening any hope of rebuilding TAFE in the future.
‘I’m proud to stand with my state MP colleague John Kaye who has been a powerful voice standing up to protect TAFE from the Liberal-Nationals’ ruthless privatisation agenda.
‘Communities like Murwillumbah with high levels of unemployment are in line to lose TAFE facilities which will be a blow to our young people at a time they are struggling to make their way in the world.
This has come at a bad time for Murwillumbah which has recently suffered cuts to the police service, cuts to the hospital services and cuts to the court service. Now this.
‘Murwillumbah TAFE is an integral part of our community and cannot be lost.’
Fairfax media has reported that the leaked document states TAFE NSW requires a $54.5 million increase in capital spending this year, including $32 million for new projects, which are in addition to those approved in the June budget.
But more than half of this spending, $17.5 million, is earmarked for IT. Another $10 million is to relocate services from the campuses being sold.
Skills Minister John Barilaro told a budget estimates hearing this month the government was looking at “ways of rationalising our asset base and reinvesting every dollar of that into information technology, into fantastic campuses”.