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TAFE job cuts and increased fees
At a time when Australia is facing a serious skills shortage, the NSW Government has announced a cut of 800 TAFE employees over the next four years. The jobs cuts in TAFE include front line teachers. TAFE students will face increased fees of 9.5% and the student concession fee will nearly double.
In June 2012, the O’Farrell Government imposed a “Labour Expense Cap” on public sector employees, including TAFE teachers. This cap represents a cut in real terms to public sector salaries.
NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President, Gary Zadkovich said, “After years of state and federal government cutbacks in funding, after years of casualisation of the TAFE teacher workforce, after years of privatising TAFE course delivery through the policies of competitive tendering and introducing TAFE course fees, we now see another wave of cuts to TAFE.
“Of the 1800 positions to be slashed by the O’Farrell state government, 800 TAFE teaching and administrative/support positions will be abolished as part of the $1.7 billion budget cuts over the next four years.
“In addition to these attacks, TAFE course fees will be increased by 9.5%. This yet again puts obstacles in the way of students seeking to further their education in an effort to gain skills and employment that will help address the nationwide skills shortage.
“At a time when governments should be increasing investment in our students’ education, for their sake and for the long term economic prosperity of our nation, the O’Farrell government is cutting spending.
“Australia already spends less than the OECD average on education, and here in NSW, the education share of the state budget has declined from 28.4% in 1989-90 to 22.4% now.
“Federation will be working to develop a state-wide campaign involving unions and community and other education organisations to overturn these cuts. “
The government describes its plan as “reducing staff, working more efficiently within reduced operating budgets and increasing revenue from fees and services”. Put simply, this means fewer people doing more work for less money while charging students higher fees.
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