Luke Foley MP

Leader of the Opposition

Wednesday 23 March 2016


Labor has today put forward legislation to rescue TAFE from the targeted attack by the Liberal-National Government.

Labor’s plan guarantees at least 70 per cent of the vocational education and training (VET) budget will be allocated to TAFE.

The Technical and Further Education Commission Amendment (TAFE Funding Guarantee) Bill 2015, was today introduced into the Parliament by Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

The Bill will cap contestable public funding for private education providers at a maximum of 30 per cent – preventing the Baird Government from shifting public funding from TAFE to private providers.

While private providers play a role in skills training, the vital role TAFE plays must be protected.

The volatile private sector has seen the recent collapse of a number of VET providers, including Aspire College of Education, Evocca College and, just this week, the Australian Careers Network.

Thousands of students enrolled in dozens of campuses owned by these providers across NSW have been left high and dry.   Under the Liberal-National reforms of the vocational training sector, TAFE is being forced to compete with the scandal-ridden private sector for its funding.

Many students have been discouraged from enrolling in TAFE since the introduction of the Government’s Smart and Skilled program which has seen:

• $1.7 billion cut from education and training; • 4,600 TAFE teachers and support staff sacked; • Student fees dramatically increase, with some basic courses costing up to $4,000 a year; and • 27 TAFE sites flagged for sale and or closure.

The NSW Government has refused to learn from the mistakes of their Liberal-National colleagues in Victoria.

In Victoria, TAFE is sadly no longer the dominant vocational education and training provider. Just as in NSW, the cost of training skyrocketed, following reforms, while quality plummeted.

Under a NSW Labor Government, a strong, well-funded TAFE system will ensure we grow reliable vocational and education training and a skilled workforce throughout the state.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Labor’s plan stops the kneecapping of the public TAFE system we are seeing under the Baird Government.

“Reserving at least 70 per cent of all public funding for vocational education and training for TAFE will ensure the institution’s future.

“Labor will always stand up for the strongest possible public education system.

“It’s in the Liberals’ DNA to assume that private is better. The attack on TAFE by Mike Baird’s Government needs to stop.

“The private sector has a role to play and we value high quality providers but we won’t allow TAFE to be destroyed by diverting funding to large companies who are profit driven.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Skills Minister Prue Car

“Labor’s plan will make TAFE sustainable, affordable and accessible.

“A strong TAFE sector plays a vital role in training and upskilling our workforce.

“We need to equip the workforce with the skills required for the jobs of today and those of the future.”