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to reverse the cuts to courses, colleges and contact hours, reinstate face-to-face teaching, including where it have been replaced by on-line, and restore outreach programs and services for students with disability.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