TAFE students across the state are calling for the Treasurer Michael Egan, to take off his Versace loafers and to walk a week in their shoes.
On Wednesday 19 November at 1.00pm, they will be rallying outside State Parliament House to demonstrate their opposition to TAFE fees proposed for 2004.
Linda Simon, Secretary of the TAFE Teachers Association said, "TAFE teachers will be attending the rally along with their colleagues from the Labor Council, other unions and of course the students who are most affected by the outrageous increase in TAFE fees. Fees will range from $350 to $1650 next year, a rise of around 300% in some cases. We have carried out surveys across the state, and thousands of students are saying that these fees could stop them completing their courses in TAFE. It certainly looks like the Carr government has continued to target those who most need their support, including many women".
"Students will present the Treasurer with rubber thongs, telling the stories of how he will destroy their educational opportunities. The Federation has written to the Treasurer on a number of occasions on this issue, but he refuses to meet with us," said Ms Simon.
"A delegation of TAFE students will meet with the Minister for Education and Training on Thursday. We hope that he is more receptive to their issues".
"A recent report from NCVER, a research body of the Federal government, shows that TAFE NSW fees are presently amongst the highest in the country, particularly at the Diploma level. The Carr government is participating in a deliberate dumbing down of the community. Instead of encouraging people to gain additional qualifications and to aim for better jobs and expanded career opportunities, this state government is pricing courses beyond the means of ordinary people."
"The Premier still has the opportunity to stop this decision to increase fees and to prevent his government making a dreadful mistake. The rally at Parliament House calls on Bob Carr to make this change."