Community demands guarantee Bega TAFE is not for sale

A community meeting has demanded a guarantee from the Berejiklian Government that the Bega TAFE College will not be sold.

The meeting on 23 August, held outside the TAFE College on Barrack St, Bega, called on the Premier, local MP Andrew Constance and Minister for TAFE Adam Marshall to guarantee the Bega TAFE College will not be sold after the construction of the Bega Connected Learning Centre (CLC).

CLCs are designed to provide students with access to online and digital TAFE courses in regional and rural towns.

The Bega CLC is under construction on the old Bega hospital site. A number of CLC buildings have been constructed in rural and regional NSW including Glen Innes, Quirindi, Coonabarabran, Tenterfield, Corowa, and Deniliquin. The Dapto CLC was renamed an Access Centre after public criticism of its lack of facilities, including a public toilet.

Mr Marshall was quoted in the Bega News in early August as saying: “When questioned if the existing campus would close down in stage two of the plans, he said it was ‘most likely’, although it was yet to be determined.”

Mr Constance was reported in the local paper on 23 August as saying: “There are no plans to close the existing buildings at the TAFE campus.”

The contradiction between the Minister and the Member for Bega and the inability to guarantee that the TAFE college will not be sold, has led to anxiety for students, teachers and support staff at Bega TAFE.

The plan to build a CLC at Bega appears to be rushed and ill planned. Members have reported to Federation that no local TAFE teachers have been consulted in the design and location of the Bega CLC.

Members in other CLC locations have reported that where the CLC is located in the existing TAFE college, students and teachers can access other support services such as libraries, student counselling and amenities.

TAFE members have experienced the disaster of the Berejiklian Government’s Smart and Skilled policy and funding cuts. Federation will support a campaign to ensure that Bega TAFE students continue to have access to high-quality vocational education.

Rob Long, TAFE Organiser