Statement on the dismantling of Hunter TAFE

Scrapping Hunter TAFE and centralising administration in Sydney is further evidence the Baird Government is hell bent on dismantling TAFE, Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison said.

“At a time when we are witnessing unprecedented change to almost every sector of the NSW economy, a prudent government would ensure our workforce is equipped with the skills and training to meet these challenges,” Ms Aitchison said.

“This government is not doing that, and public concerns about TAFE are falling on deaf ears.”

Ms Aitchison said she had made 360 representations to Skills Minister John Barilaro in the past month from constituents who were angry about cuts the Baird Government had made to TAFE.

“That is on top of the calls to my office from students, their parents and teachers who have been directly affected by the cuts to courses and face-to-face hours,” Ms Aitchison said.

Last month’s state budget revealed that, since 2012, there were 126,000 fewer students enrolled in TAFE, 14,567 students with disabilities enrolled, and 5200 teachers and support staff sacked.

In the Hunter, at least 120 staff have been sacked, and enrolments are down from 64,403 in 2012 to 24,205 this year.

“I am particularly concerned about disabled students, who have already had their support reduced,” Ms Aitchison said.

“More teaching will be done online rather than face-to-face.

“Training for apprentices and small business people looking to improve their skills is vital to communities such as Maitland.

“Without the flexibility of a local campus, how will courses be offered that suit our community, our students, our businesses and our industries.”