Sharon Bird today met with local representatives from TAFE to discuss the impact of the Liberal Government’s decision to cut TAFE funding for Adult Migrant English Programs (AMEP) and the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program.

The Liberals recently announced that they would cut funding TAFE Illawarra for these programs and have instead awarded contracts to private training providers Navitas (AMEP) and MAX solutions (SEE).

The NSW Teachers’ Federation has estimated that in excess of 70 teachers and support staffing positions are under threat and over 200 students will be impacted by the decision to cut this funding to TAFE.

Sharon Bird said that this was just another example of the Liberal’s plans to decimate TAFE.

“The Liberals have cut more than $2.5 billion from skills and training programs and there are 130,000 less apprentices across the country since their election in 2013.

“As well as taking the axe to TAFE here in the Illawarra, Malcolm Turnbull is also refusing to guarantee TAFE funding into the future in the May Budget.

The National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform – funded and delivered by the former Labor government – provides vital funding to states and territories to support TAFE, apprenticeship and skills programs. 

This $500 million a year national agreement expires on 30 June this year – and the Turnbull Government’s own budget papers show there is nothing to replace it.

“The cuts that Malcolm Turnbull and Liberals are making – both at the local level and through the National Partnerships – are yet another attack on TAFE.  We should be protecting TAFE to ensure that everybody has access to professional and affordable training. 

“The Liberals only care about giving a $50 billion handout to big business and the banks and he can’t even guarantee $500 million to help train our workforce of the future.

“This really should be a no-brainer.  If we want people off welfare and into jobs, we need our TAFE system to be strong and viable into the future.  Malcolm Turnbull should be investing in skills and training – not ripping the money out to give to his big business mates,” Sharon Bird concluded.