The Greens have labelled the Coalition “autonomy for TAFE” plan as a backward step for the Hunter and said it would be the first stage of full privatisation of vocational education and training.
Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon joined Newcastle Greens candidate Cr Michael Osborne in warning of the damage the Coalition TAFE policy would cause to skills training in the Hunter.
“Breaking TAFE into separate units would be a disaster at a time when the priority should be rebuilding a strong well-resourced public vocational education and training provider,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“Opposition spokeswoman for Employment Participation, Sussan Ley’s announcement that TAFE autonomy is ‘a central goal’ for the Coalition highlights the degree to which public TAFE is under threat.
“The Coalition might dress up their TAFE plan as a way to have local input into course design but the result would make it even harder for the public provider to compete.
Newcastle Greens candidate Cr Michael Osborne said, “I am very concerned about this Coalition policy. It is a reminder of what a disaster an Abbott government would be for the Hunter.”
“The Hunter economy would suffer under the Abbott VET plan as the numbers of skilled trades people will decline,” Cr Michael Osborne said.
“Having the Coalition in power at the state and federal levels will put enormous pressure on this region. Their plans for TAFE illustrate how serious it would be,” Cr Michael Osborne said.
“The local TAFE is already at risk from the state government’s plan to open up VET to low-cost training providers next year. The federal Coalition plan for so-called ‘autonomy’ is another way to further the breakup of the public provider,” Cr Michael Osborne said.