Today’s announcement by Premier Baird on vocational education and training is an attempt to divert attention from the state government’s Smart and Skilled policy to privatise TAFE.
NSW Teachers Federation President, Maurie Mulheron, said:
“This Smart and Skilled policy is designed to take public money out of the TAFE system and hand it over to private, for-profit companies. This is occurring at a time when the Baird Government has already cut TAFE funding, slashed courses, sacked teaching and support staff, and increased student fees.
“While removing the barrier of the concession fee of $240 for disadvantaged students is a positive move for some young people, the government’s Smart and Skilled policy places significant financial barriers in front of the majority who need to access TAFE to retrain or upgrade their skills.
“We have seen in the Queensland election result that voters overwhelmingly reject government attempts to weaken and privatise vital public services like TAFE.
“With a NSW election to be held next month, voters should understand that the Baird Government’s agenda is to increase student fees for the majority, continue to spend less on TAFE colleges than is required to meet the state’s skills shortages, and hand public revenue over to private, for-profit companies.”