I urge the local community in my electorate of Heffron to come together to celebrate the important economic and social contribution TAFE makes on National TAFE Day on 3 June 2013.
Studies have found that every dollar invested in TAFE returns benefits worth $6.40 to the NSW economy.
NSW TAFE is under serious threat in NSW, facing unprecedented budget cuts under Barry O’Farrell.
Communities across NSW have been rallying in support of their local TAFE campuses since the O’Farrell Government’s first round of cuts was announced last year.
We are now seeing three developments intersect in a way that threatens the very viability of TAFE as we know it.
First, the O’Farrell Government is cutting TAFE’s funding with $130m being slashed from the budget and 800 teaching and non-teaching jobs to go.
Second, the Government is trying to use the enterprise bargaining process to replace TAFE teachers with lesser qualified staff, while denying teachers the pay rise already received by most other public servants.
And third, the so-called ‘Smart and Skilled’ reforms will see fees increase and funding diverted from TAFE, threatening its role as a provider of vocational and second chance education.
Similar reforms were a disaster in Victoria, with many campuses now closed, more than 2,400 TAFE workers sacked and students being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars for courses previously accessed for a modest cost.
National TAFE Day is a great time for the community to stand up for a strong TAFE system in NSW.
TAFE plays a critical role as the pre-eminent provider of quality vocational education and training and second chance education.
TAFE helps build the economic, social and cultural capacity of communities.
Barry O’Farrell’s actions are placing all of this at risk.
Of particular concern is that many of the O’Farrell Government’s cuts have savaged programs that support the most marginalised and disadvantaged members of the community.
On National TAFE Day the O’Farrell Government should commit to increase investment in TAFE and abandon their proposed reforms that undermine the viability and quality of TAFE in NSW.