During this term of Coalition state government, Federation will pursue two of the most important issues in the election campaign: the preservation of a strong, well-funded NSW TAFE system and federal government funding for the full six years of the Gonski schools funding model.
Federation will continue campaigning for the Baird Government to do what Labor and the Greens commendably pledged to do — to put a cap on contestable funding to ensure NSW TAFE remains the pre-eminent, high quality provider of vocational education and training.
This is crucial to ensuring the Coalition’s so-called Smart and Skilled policy is not used to strip government funding from TAFE and hand it over to for-profit private training companies, increase student fees, cut courses and slash teaching and support staff positions.
Similarly, Federation will be campaigning for the Baird Government to take strong action to pressure the federal Coalition Government to honour the Commonwealth commitment to fund the full six years of the NSW Gonski agreement.
A number of changes have been made to ministerial portfolios since the election.
Adrian Piccoli remains Education Minister, with responsibilities for the Office of Communities transferred to the Department of Communities. This means a name change to the Department of Education from July 1.
Leslie Williams, Nationals MP for Port Macquarie, has been appointed Early Childhood Education Minister, Aboriginal Affairs Minister and Assistant Minister for Education.
Labor’s deputy leader Linda Burney is the new shadow education minister, replacing Ryan Park who moves to Transport. Ms Burney is also shadow Aboriginal affairs minister.
TAFE NSW is to be transferred to the new Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development. Nationals MP for Monaro John Barilaro has been appointed as the Minister with responsibility for these areas.