TAFE fees soar under Baird - locking people out of skills and training

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Mike Baird’s cuts to the NSW TAFE system have led to soaring course costs - slugging apprentices, trainees and concession card holders wanting to learn new skills and get a job.

Labor Leader Luke Foley and Shadow Minister for Education and Training Ryan Park met with a group students today at Sutherland TAFE who have been impacted by the Liberals’ cruel cuts.

Analysis by Labor of more than 40 certificate and diploma qualifications reveals the extent of the unfair increases by the Liberals over the last four years in government.

The worst example is a 6,900 per cent increase in the cost of a Diploma of Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Engineering, which has jumped from $104 in 2011 to $7,280 in 2015. The cost of diploma courses for concession card holders has more than tripled following the decision by the Liberals to cut concession discounts.

For average students completing their first TAFE course, fees have spiked by between 40 and 198 per cent over the last four years.

A labourer completing a Certificate II in Construction now faces course fees of $1,340, when the course was only $450 in 2011.

While the Baird Government has hit apprentices with higher TAFE course fees, the Abbott Government cut $1 billion in support including axing the allowance that helped apprentice tradies purchase tools.

Labor’s $100 million TAFE Rescue Plan will reverse the Baird Government’s TAFE fee hikes for apprentices, saving apprentices up to $900.

Quotes attributable to Labor Leader Luke Foley

“Education is the great enabler for jobs.

“How can young people starting out and those already in the workforce advance their career when course fees are prohibitively expensive?

“In every community across NSW there is a horror story of someone frozen out of the TAFE system or forced to withdraw midway through the course because they simply can’t afford it.

“We need to grow smart jobs and opportunities throughout the state – but we can’t do that without a strong, well-funded TAFE system.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Education Ryan Park

“Every day we depend in some way on the services and support of someone who has vocational qualifications – whether it is the plumber who fixes a leak, the hairdresser who cuts our hair, or the mechanic who fixes our car.

“That’s why it’s important to have a strong TAFE system. But already we know many people have been forced to take hefty loans to pay to complete their courses – and some people won’t be going back to TAFE at all.

“Labor will reverse these fee increases and ensure the TAFE is well-funded by limiting the portion of public funding that can be contested by the private sector.

“The private sector has a role to play and we value high quality providers and the contribution they make to the sector. But we will not allow TAFE to be destroyed by diverting funding to large companies and corporations who are profit driven.”