Labor calls for inquiry into Liberals' dismantling of TAFE

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The NSW Opposition has today called for a comprehensive investigation into the damage the Baird Government’s controversial TAFE policies are doing to access to vocational education in NSW. 

Shadow Minister for Skills David Harris has called for an inquiry - moved by Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House Adam Searle - into TAFE course cuts, fee hikes, increasing use of for-profit providers and recent IT failures.

The committee will also examine the contribution that TAFE makes to the NSW economy, particularly in rural and regional communities.

“The Baird Government has taken us down the road of dismantling the TAFE system without understanding the contribution it makes to our economy,” Mr Harris said.

“For many people, TAFE is the only further education option available.

“TAFE also provides low-cost but high quality retraining for those whose work life has been interrupted by redundancy or unemployment.

“The Liberals seem to have no regard for how TAFE course cuts and fee increases will impact access to vocational education and training.

“Tradespeople are vital to the NSW economy. The Central Coast, Newcastle, Illawarra and other regions rely on strong local TAFE institutes to provide a skilled workforce.

“Mike Baird’s attack on TAFE has already priced many people out of trades training and the higher fees will saddle our future tradespeople with debt or prevent them from accessing much needed training and re-training.

“Mike Baird has ignored the concerns of our regions as they combat a skills shortage.

“It doesn’t matter how many times they hear it, the Liberals just don’t understand that you simply don’t make it harder to get training in an unemployment crisis. 

“So long as courses are cut, fees rise and TAFE’s future funding is under a veil of uncertainty, our young people and our economy will suffer.

“The Parliament must properly investigate the contribution of TAFE because the Baird Government does not get it.

“Unfortunately Mike Baird has chosen to ignore the communities and students suffering from his decision to slowly dismantle the TAFE system.”