A public meeting was held outside Springwood MP Rosa Sage’s office on March 14 over cuts to TAFE in the Blue Mountains.
TAFE TA President Phill Chadwick told the rally the O’Farrell Government intended to introduce its Smart and Skilled policy in January 2015, changing how local TAFE programs are delivered and the level of support available to assist students, in particular students with disabilities.
He explained how students in the Blue Mountains face a dramatic $7700 fee increase for a Fine Arts Diploma at Nepean Arts and Design Centre, and local teachers’ jobs have been cut in the Outdoor Recreation section.
Federation is asking how Premier O’Farrell will be able to ensure that TAFE programs will continue to be accessible to all students in the Blue Mountains and across NSW, not just those who can afford to pay.
The union will campaign to ensure that student have access to quality TAFE courses. There is deep concern that Smart and Skilled will strip government funds from TAFE and shift the cost to students.
NSW Greens MLC John Kaye demanded the State Government stop funding cuts to TAFE and outlined the objectives of the Greens’ TAFE Changes Moratorium (Secure Future for Public Provision of Vocational Education and Training) Bill 2013.
Shadow education minister Ryan Park told the crowd the ALP would support the bill.
Ms Sage was invited to address the meeting, but was unavailable.