GREENS ANNOUNCE ABORIGINAL POLICY INITIATIVE

Thursday, 19 March 2015
On National Close the Gap Day, Greens MP and Aboriginal
Affairs spokesperson Jan Barham has announced the
Greens’ initiatives to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW.
“The Greens policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People acknowledges the failings
of Government to address the devastating conditions in many areas for Aboriginal people,”
said Ms Barham.
Key elements of the policy include:
• a NSW Premier’s report on outcomes for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples,
• a $250 million investment in Aboriginal housing to deliver around 1,000 homes,
• a plan and protocols to clear the backlog of 26,000 Aboriginal land claims,
• strategies for Aboriginal employment & training, including child welfare & tourism,
• lowering the eligibility age for the Seniors Card to 45 years for Aboriginal people, and
• a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into reparations for the Stolen Generations
Ms Barham said: “NSW can take the lead and prepare a state based annual report on a
broader set of Closing the Gap indicators to ensure that the funding and policies that are in
place are delivering outcomes.”
Last year Greens MLC Jan Barham presented a motion to the Parliament for the establishment
of an inquiry into Stolen Generations reparations. In Tasmania, legislation has been enacted
to provide for compensation and there is a similar bill before the South Australian Parliament.
“The history of removal of Aboriginal people from their families and country in NSW still
affects the lives of many, and an inquiry to report and consider appropriate reparations could
deliver a framework for genuine redress.”
“The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is of major concern with life
expectancy identified as between 10 and 17 years less than the general population. The
Greens have called for eligibility to the NSW Seniors Card to include Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people from the age of 45 years, to enable earlier opportunities for access to
health and transport services.
“The health and wellbeing of people is determined strongly by their ability to access safe and
stable housing. The Greens have acknowledged that there needs to be a major injection of
funding to facilitate more housing and reduce the increasing issue of homelessness

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Fund TAFE First: The Greens alternate vision to training privatisation

The Greens have announced that they will be moving to protect TAFE’s public funding from competition and slash fees, in a $900 million boost to the public provider’s annual secure budget.

Under the Greens’ “Fund TAFE First” replacement program for the Baird government’s “Smart and Skilled”, the public provider would have first access to all funds for each course that it teaches or could teach.

According to Greens NSW MP John Kaye, this would reinstate more than $600 million a year to TAFE’s secure budget and enable TAFE to restore the 1,100 staff positions that have been deleted since the Baird government moved to impose the ‘Smart and Skilled’ training market.

TAFE colleges would be able to reverse the cuts to courses, colleges and contact hours, reinstate face-to-face teaching, including where it have been replaced by on-line, and restore outreach programs and services for students with disability.

The Greens also announced an additional $180 million a year to cut fees and a process for negotiating with the Commonwealth to restore publicly funded Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas. This money would come from existing state funding of non-government schools. TAFE would be free for most students.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: “TAFE has been brought to its knees by a decade and a half of policies that have stripped out its budget and increasingly handed the money over to for-profit training corporations.

“TAFE is critical to the future of NSW. The quality and affordability of vocational education and training has to be protected from privatisation and the impacts of unfair competition with profit-focused corporations.

“Voters in Victoria and Queensland changed governments in part because they were deeply disturbed by what they saw happening to TAFE in their states.

“Now it’s NSW’s turn to decide on the future of skills training and education in this State.”

Dr Kaye said that while his party felt that there should be no competition for TAFE’s budget, the worst case scenario should be a limit of no more than 15 percent of public funds, applied on a course-by-course basis and for-profit private providers should be excluded from receiving public funding.

The Greens will also initiate a wide-ranging inquiry into competitive funding and the impacts of changes to vocational education and training over the past two decades, including the introduction of training packages. The inquiry would look at the fundamental causes of the change from public responsibility for education and training to market-based allocation for training.

For more information: Julie Macken 9045 6999

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