Drastic disability support cuts will hurt vital services

Robert Long
Kathy Nicholson

TAFE Organisers

Cuts to disability support funding were raised at the TAFE Senate inquiry forum in Wollongong.

TAFE institutes are warning teachers that the Smart and Skilled loading model for funding students with disabilities will not meet current support.

All Federation members are urged to write to their local State MP calling on them to protect these vital educational support services.

Northern Sydney Institute anticipates that it will only have 12 per cent of the existing recurrent funding available to support students with disabilities. Clearly that is inadequate and seems to contradict Education Minister Adrian Piccoli’s stated expectations: “TAFE NSW is expected to provide specialist and accessible training services to support skill development, higher-level qualifications, further study and employment for people who face disadvantage through community service obligation funding and loadings.” (Minister’s Statement of Owner Expectations)

The Institute’s disability teacher consultants have been advised they will have to move to a generic rather than specialist model for support of students with a disability.

AEU NSW has had some correspondence with TAFE Managing Director Pam Christie about moves by Northern Sydney Institute to change the service delivery model and cut staff numbers. The union has sought urgent intervention from the Minister.

Illawarra Institute also plans to review its service delivery model and the staffing requirements for teacher consultants for students with a disability.

Northern Sydney, Illawarra and Hunter TAFE management and teacher consultants disabilities have met to discuss anticipated funding shortfalls.

It is unclear how TAFE NSW can possibly continue to meet the Disability Standards for Education under the Disability Discrimination Act.

AEU NSW has had significant correspondence with Managing Director TAFE and NSW State Training Services seeking to clarify the position of the TAFE Commission on provision of disability support including funding and procedures when Smart and Skilled is implemented in January 2015.

The union has sought clarification as to whether fee exempt Access courses will still be available under Smart and Skilled.

AEU NSW and peak disability organisations have written to Mr Piccoli alerting him to ongoing concerns about the proposed Smart and Skilled funding model.

Join the Stop TAFE cuts campaign at http://stoptafecuts.com.au/.