'Vandals' softening up TAFE
for privatisation: forum

Sharryn Usher
Michael de Wall

The impact of privatisation and budget cuts on local services, including the public provision of post-school education and training will be addressed at a Penrith Valley Community Unions forum at St Marys RSL on November 25 at 6.30pm.

The current TAFE system as we know it will survive the next three years, a similar forum held at Penrith on October 22 heard.

Federation President Maurie Mulheron said: “A system that was once the envy of the world is being systematically destroyed at the hands of economic vandals who care nothing for the education needs of young people whose families can’t afford the big fees that will be required to get post-school training.”

“Over 1200 people have been sacked already and courses slashed across the board. How does this assist people in the Penrith community?” he asked.

Course closures, the relocation and contraction of some courses to particular sites and significant increases in fees are already reducing opportunities for many students to pursue post-school education and training across greater western Sydney.

Mr Mulheron said that such moves were designed to run down and soften up TAFE prior to further privatisation measures, citing examples from Victoria where TAFE has dramatically reduced its role in the provision of education and training and, in one jurisdiction must rent its own premises to run courses alongside private providers.

While the three Baird Government MPs from surrounding electorates gave their apologies for not attending, the local ALP candidates who attended the forum witnessed community members giving high praise for not only the education and training received at TAFE, but also for the dedicated teachers.

TAFE was clearly identified as a key election issue.

The ALP candidates were urged to go back to their party and seek an unqualified commitment to stopping the cuts, capping the fees and ending contestable funding.

The event was organised by Penrith Valley Community Unions. Other guests spoke about the impact of privatisation and cuts on individuals and their families as both workers and community members who rely on services. Key policy areas addressed included health, disability and home care, emergency services, electricity supply and workers

Michael de Wall is a City Organiser and Sharryn Usher is a TAFE Organiser.