The Greens’ bid to bring TAFE back from the brink in NSW has been blocked by Liberals and Nationals MPs hell-bent on handing over public money to private for-profit training providers at the public provider’s expense.
A Bill introduced by Greens NSW MP John Kaye and passed by the NSW Upper House in June was defeated in the Legislative Assembly last Thursday 13 November.
The legislation sought to stop the introduction of the Baird government’s Smart and Skilled training market, restore TAFE funding and freeze TAFE fees and the flow of money going to private providers at 2010/11 levels.
Dr Kaye said: “The Baird Government has refused to acknowledge the destructive impact their policies are already having on NSW’s world-class public provider of vocational education and training.
“This bill would have saved TAFE from the very worst of the damage that consecutive Labor and Coalition governments have inflicted on it.
“By voting against this legislation the Nationals have condemned students all over rural and regional NSW to poor quality education, lost opportunities and increased fees.
“The Liberals’ Matt Kean and the Nationals’ Kevin Anderson disputed figures of job losses in TAFE that were provided to the Greens by the Education Minister himself.
“The same MPs conveniently glossed over the fact that they signed a pre-election pledge to increase TAFE funding, keep it affordable for all, and stop further privatisation of VET. Those Coalition promises are now a distant memory.
“Each of the Liberal and Nationals MPs who spoke against the bill displayed utter contempt for all those who are campaigning in support of a secure future for TAFE.
“They repeatedly belittled the Upper House’s support for the bill, ignoring the fact that the proportionally-elected Legislative Council more closely represents the views of the people of NSW.
“It is the Liberals and Nationals MPs who will stand condemned by their decision to support the slashing of TAFE’s budget, the loss of over 1200 jobs, massive fee increases for students and the privatisation of the VET sector.
“Education Minister Adrian Piccoli did not show TAFE teachers, staff, students and the community the courtesy of bothering to speak on debate on the bill.
“Mr Piccoli was in the House to vote against the legislation but never spoke on the bill, despite being the Minister responsible.
“The campaign to stop Smart and Skilled from savaging TAFE is far from over.
“Smart and Skilled has already delivered training contracts for huge multi-national corporations including McDonalds, Serco and Echo, the owner of the Star casino, all funded by the NSW taxpayer.
“While TAFE Institutes have survived this round, nothing can stop a re-elected Coalition government from cutting its slice of the funding pie even thinner.
“The Greens will continue to work for a funding system that preserves TAFE as the dominant provider of vocational education and training and gives it the resources it needs to deliver high quality public education,” Dr Kaye said.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455
To read the whole debate in the Legislative Assembly, click here.
Members of the Legislative Assembly who spoke against the bill: Hornsby MP Matt Kean (Liberal), Cronulla MP Mark Speakman (Liberal), Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson (Nationals), Myall Lakes MP Stephen Bromhead (Nationals) and Riverstone MP Kevin Connolly (Liberal).
Members of the Legislative Council who spoke in favour of the bill: Keira MP Ryan Park (Labor), Sydney MP Alex Greenwich (Independent) & Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper (Independent)
From Legislative Assembly Hansard Thursday 13 November 2014
TAFE CHANGES MORATORIUM (SECURE FUTURE FOR PUBLIC PROVISION OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING) BILL 2014
Question—That this bill be now read a second time—put.
The House divided.
Mr R. C. Williams
Mr J. D. Williams