Baird Government in disarray over ongoing TAFE computer meltdown

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The Baird Government is in disarray over the ongoing computer meltdown affecting TAFE graduations and enrolments – with the Premier appearing to believe the problem was fixed in Question Time today, only to be contradicted by his Minister for Skills John Barilaro.

This year, the Government has completely botched the introduction of its new $573 million TAFE computer system. This has affected thousands of students from 2014 who are still unable to graduate – and 2015 students who are still unable to enrol in courses.

Despite spending more than 60 per cent of the $573 million on consultants and contractors – there is no end to the problems in sight.

Neither the Premier or Mr Barilaro could confirm how many students are still waiting to graduate from TAFE courses – or could give a guarantee when the system will be working properly.

“The Baird Government’s implementation of the new TAFE computer system has been a disaster. Mike Baird seems to believe the problem is fixed. Labor can assure him that it is not,” Shadow Minister for Skills David Harris said.

“We’ve got thousands of students who can’t enrol – and others who can’t graduate.

“TAFE as we know it is being destroyed under the Baird Government.   

“The final insult is for the TAFE sector to be placed in the hands of a junior Minister who clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about.”

Compounding his lack of knowledge about the computer meltdown, Mr Barilaro today boasted about the Baird Government’s mammoth TAFE fee increases.

In a flailing and rambling display that had his colleagues visibly embarrassed, the inexperienced Minister said:

  • “We make no apologies about the fees.”

Since 2011, the Liberal/National Government has cut $1.7 billion from education and training, sacked 1100 TAFE teachers and support staff, cut TAFE courses and slashed class contact times and drastically increased student fees by up to thousands of dollars.

In 2015, under the Government’s Smart and Skilled privatisation program, TAFE fees have risen significantly, with 40 per cent of students being slugged an extra $500 to $1500 for courses. For example: the cost of the Certificate III Aged Care course at Ultimo TAFE has risen from $419 to $1440; while Certificate III in Agriculture at Goulburn TAFE has risen from $838 to $2170.

Mr Harris said: “It’s a shocking year to be enrolling in TAFE under the Baird Government.

“Massive fees – a computer system that doesn’t work – and a junior Minister who doesn’t care.”