Premier Mike Baird is “very proud” about what his government is doing with TAFE, State Parliament heard on October 15.
“What the Government is accomplishing in the TAFE sector and the VET sector more broadly, is something of which we are very proud … very proud,” he said in response to a question without notice about job losses at Western Sydney TAFE.
The Government’s Smart and Skilled policy has seen thousands of TAFE students paying increased fees and incurring debt and teachers and staff continue to lose their jobs.
The history of this government’s TAFE cuts began in September 2012 with the then premier O’Farrell announced a major budget cut for the Department of Education of $1.7 billion over four years.
The government announced 800 TAFE teaching and administrative/support positions would be abolished.
Now three years into the cuts, the Baird Government has made redundant more than 2500 TAFE teachers, managers and support staff, with hundreds more part time casual teachers losing all or the majority of their work.
TAFE students and teachers suffer cuts to courses, reduced teaching delivery hours and the threat of colleges to be sold.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on October 15 that Minister Barilaro refuses to admit that Smart and Skilled fee hikes for students is the cause of TAFE enrolments plummeting this year. However, leaked documents from the Western Sydney Institute’s Foundation Studies review claim the main reason for the decline in student enrolments in is the introduction of student fees for programs previously fee free.
Western Sydney Institute is the latest TAFE institute to implement redundancies for teachers and support staff. At least 16 reviews are impacting on teachers in all educational faculties and support services. More than 87 teaching positions are under threat with more announcements expected in the coming weeks.
The privatisation attack continues across TAFE NSW institutes. Illawarra and South Western Sydney have completed the implementation of their redundancies from semester 1. Hunter, New England, and Western institutes are finalising plans for further job cuts. North Sydney and Western Sydney institutes will finalise plans for further job cuts by Christmas. Since July, Federation has received correspondence from Riverina and Sydney institutes for plans to cut more permanent jobs.
The Stop TAFE Cuts campaign continues to gain support from a wide range of political, community and local organisations. Members are encouraged to campaign and log on to www.stoptafecuts.com.au.