TAFE and Corrective Services on Federation’s election agenda

Our public TAFE system was the envy of the world, but then it started to be destroyed, Federation President Maurie Mulheron told Annual Conference Delegates earlier this week.

“You couldn’t think of a more stupid set of policies than what we’ve endured over the past few years,” he said.

Delegates noted in their Annual Conference decision: “The damage inflicted on the TAFE sector, particularly as a result of underfunding and moves to privatise vocational education, has eroded the viability of colleges and undermined confidence in the system.”

Federation plans to collaborate closely with the Australian Education Union, Unions NSW, allied unions and community groups to ensure TAFE is a key issue in the state and federal elections.

The union is campaigning for:

  • a minimum 70 per cent government funding to the public TAFE system and no public funding to be provided to private for-profit providers
  • funding restored to the public TAFE system
  • abandoning student loans and cancelling the debts of all students caught up in the collapse of for-profit providers
  • re-investing in the TAFE teaching workforce and developing a future-focused TAFE workforce development strategy in collaboration with the profession and the union
  • a capital investment strategy to provide TAFE students access to high quality learning facilities
  • a national, independent inquiry into TAFE
  • restoration of programs lost to NSW TAFE
  • withdrawal of the threat to disability teacher consultants and their services.

“We cannot allow our TAFE system to be destroyed on our watch,” Mr Mulheron said.

Corrective Services

In the lead-up to the state election, the union will campaign for the state government to re-establish high quality public education in NSW Corrective Services.

Education in NSW correctional facilities was privatised in 2017. Most NSW correctional facilities now provide significantly reduced levels of language, literacy and numeracy education, with some correctional facilities no longer offering any literacy and numeracy classes.

“Education plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation of prisoners, with research overwhelmingly showing that adult education provision is the most effective of all interventions in minimising reoffending rates. This degradation of educational delivery has been catastrophic for inmates,” Delegates declared in the Annual Conference decision.