Greens candidate for the Gosford By-election, Ms Abigail Boyd, and Greens spokesperson for TAFE and Higher Education, Ms Dawn Walker, met Gosford TAFE union and staff members on Monday, April 3, to discuss the Greens’ on-going support for public sector training.
Ms Boyd said she was passionate about restoring public funding to TAFE, to help provide pathways to employment for unemployed young people on the Central Coast, and to help fill the looming skills shortage that the community faces.
“The Greens have limited parliamentary resources, but education is so important to us that we have allocated it to three MPs: Dawn Walker is responsible for TAFE and Higher Education; Tamara Smith for Schools, and Justin Field for Early Childhood”, Ms Boyd said.
“On nearly a weekly basis, we have heard of private providers going bust, leaving students high and dry, often with large student debts,” she said.
“These private colleges have been raking in tax-payer funding that should have been maintaining TAFE as the world class vocational training institution it once was.
“Every $1 put into TAFE gives a long-term return of $6.40 to the NSW government and an incalculable benefit to our local Coast community.”
Ms Walker added: “The Greens believe that a well-funded and public TAFE system is vital to the future of New South Wales, but TAFE has been pushed to the brink by the current State Coalition’s budget cuts and privatisation agenda.
“Since the introduction of their Smart and Skilled program in 2015, the Liberal-National Government has slashed funds to education and training by $1.7 billion, redirecting taxpayer funds into subsidising courses offered by private colleges with track records of money grabbing, poor teaching and abysmally low graduation rates.
“Combined with large increases in student fees and the loss of over 2,500 TAFE teachers and support staff, it’s high time the NSW Government realises that its shameful agenda to privatise vocational education is failing and restore funding to the public TAFE system.”
The Greens at federal, state and local levels, have been campaigning for years to support TAFE, help local people find training that doesn’t involve long commutes or huge fees, and to restrict public funding to public trainers, Ms Walker said.
She said she was determined to fix a broken system.
“The Central Coast has a strong network of local TAFE campuses at Gosford, Ourimbah and Wyong that were set up to provide the community with skills and training right here on the Central Coast.
“TAFE should be at the heart of skilling up our workforce and the Gosford by-election is a perfect opportunity for local voters to send the Coalition Government a clear message that TAFE matters by voting for Greens candidate, Abigail Boyd.”
Apr 3, 2017
Kate da Costa, Central Coast Greens