NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley today committed a future Labor State Government to reversing savage cuts to TAFE – that have deprived thousands of young people of job opportunities.

He made the commitment at a protest rally in Gosford – organised by TAFE teachers and students.

They were demonstrating against funding cuts that have led to the loss of 185 full time TAFE teacher jobs across the Hunter Institute   - which includes teachers on the Central Coast.

Mr Foley said that with nearly 1 in 5 young people on the Central Coast out of a job it is a Government responsibility to train them – and give them the skills - for work.  Especially for jobs crucial to the Central Coast such as tourism and leisure, business, industry and agriculture.

But sacking teachers, raising fees and cutting courses had led to a savage drop in enrolments at TAFE – at a time when work skills were needed most.

15,000 places have been lost in the region since the Liberals assumed office.

Labor Governments throughout history have promoted, built, funded and nurtured TAFE – making it one of the greatest achievements of the party.

The skills it has imparted to generations of young people are world-class.

Mr Foley said the gutting of TAFE was indicative of the Liberals approach to most things on the Central Coast – an area that is neglected except at election time.

But Labor intended as a priority to immediately appoint a Minister for the Central Coast – as soon as it took office. That Minister will oversee a comprehensive upgrade of services, facilities and infrastructure on the Central Coast – with restoring TAFE a priority.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“TAFE has been gutted for ideological reasons by the Liberals – depriving thousands people on the Central Coast of the opportunity to learn skills for jobs.

“A Foley Labor Government will reverse the Liberals savage cuts to TAFE. Young people facing years out of work need the skills it teaches. Employers value young people with those skills.

“TAFE has few equals in the world in what it does. The Liberals have no concept of its value – and don’t care how it helps thousands of young people who want to get on in the world.”

Quotes attributable to Labor Candidate for Gosford Liesl Tesch

“As someone who spent many years as a teacher I know the value of teaching skills to young people.
What the Liberals have done to TAFE on the Central Coast is appalling.

“Our young people here suffer because they are out of work. Any smart Government would consider it a duty to look after them. The Liberals don’t. That is heartless beyond belief.”