Greens NSW MP John Kaye visited Queanbeyan to alert the community to the impact of Skills Minister John Barilaro’s training privatisation on TAFE colleges in his own electorate.
Dr Kaye said he has been travelling around NSW learning first hand from TAFE students, teachers and administrative staff about how the NSW Nationals and Liberals’ contestable market for public funding for skills training is allegedly devastating TAFE and preventing students from accessing affordable educational opportunities.
The Greens are calling on Minister Barilaro to abandon the so-called ‘Smart and Skilled’ market.
Kaye said: “Savage budget cuts and funding uncertainty have resulted in TAFE campuses in Monaro and across NSW losing student enrolments, courses and staff numbers.
“TAFE campuses in the Monaro region are facing an uphill battle to maintain quality and accessibility because their local member continues to privatise their funding.
“Minister Barilaro may be relatively new in the job but it is his government that has pushed the privatisation agenda that is now destroying TAFE colleges across the state.
“The staggering decline in enrolments in Tertiary Preparation Certificate courses at Queanbeyan TAFE means that fewer students will be able to make the breakthrough to further studies and better employment.
“Basic skills are suffering as general education hours are cut and teaching positions are not replaced as they become vacant.
“As a National MP Minister Barilaro should be standing here with the Greens opposing what is happening to rural and regional TAFE colleges.
“The Greens are calling for at least 85 percent of all public skills funding to be available solely for TAFE.
“A competitive funding model robs TAFE of certainty about its future budget and drives management to cut courses, reduce contact times and push students into inappropriate online learning.
“Outreach and free Access and any course that does not turn a profit are at risk, despite the role they play in making the Monaro a fairer place.