Liberal Cuts Smash Blacktown TAFE

Cuts to vocational education from both the State and Federal Governments are having a devastating impact on local communities and on our local TAFEs. 

With youth unemployment in Blacktown at over 14 per cent, these cuts are unacceptable.  

Ms Bird said, “The Federal Government has cut $2.5 billion from the skills portfolio and this is starting to have a real impact. People lose their jobs, the capacity to deliver high quality education and training is lost and unfortunately it is students who deserve a fair go who will suffer.” 

Sharon Bird, Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Michelle Rowland, Federal Member for Greenway, Prue Car, Shadow Minister for Skills in the NSW and John Robertson, Member for Blacktown are demanding answers. 

Michelle Rowland said, “local businesses need confidence they can hire skilled workers in the future. Cuts to TAFE hurt businesses in Greenway, crimping job creation and growth in one of the fastest growing areas of New South Wales.” 

“There is growing uncertainty about the future of Blacktown TAFE – a possible restructure could result in up to 9 job losses in Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN),” Ms Car said.  

“With high unemployment in Western Sydney, we need to ensure that all people have the opportunities to reskill or learn a new trade.” 

John Robertson said, “This would be devastating news for local students in Blacktown.” 

“Threatening students and staff with job cuts is a blatant attack on vocational education and training by this State Government.”

This comes on top of a leaked plan for a TAFE-destroying federal takeover of the vocational education sector. Why would anyone trust the Abbott/Turnbull Government to run the TAFE system at a federal level? 

The plan will ‘encourage TAFEs to compete with other service providers’, seeking to pit for-profit big businesses against TAFE. Former TAFE Directors Australia chairman Bruce Mackenzie said ‘there is no evidence’ a plan like this will lead to lower fees or better quality. In fact he said it would have the reverse effect. 

“This is an attempt to attack TAFEs and shift the debt burden onto students,” Ms Rowland said 

“Before the last election, the people of Blacktown were promised no cuts. This shows the Abbott-Turnbull Government simply doesn’t listen.” 

In Blacktown and many other Western Sydney suburbs, these types of attacks hurt those who are just looking for to get the skills they need to get a job or to transition into the workforce. Funding cuts hold back future growth and stifle businesses from employing young, skilled workers. 

“We call on the State Government to give us answers on the future of LLN staff at Blacktown TAFE and ask the Federal Government to come clean on their plan to undercut local communities with a federal TAFE-destroying takeover,” Michelle Rowland said. 

THURSDAY, 7 APRIL 2016

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