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  • Keegan Thomson

TAFE woes worsen

DAMNING new evidence has been uncovered about the ailing state of TAFE funding across western Sydney.

According to figures uncovered by a freedom of information document the NSW state government has axed $210

million from TAFE’s budget.

Representatives from TAFE originally reached out to the government arguing TAFE would need the $210 million for future investments but the government at the time still cut the funds.

The $210 million taken from the TAFE budget was reportedly left over after their operational costs but according to Treasury any left overs would have to be returned back to the government.

Member for Londonderry and Shadow Skills Minister, Prue Car has accused the government of a cover up.

“At a time when TAFE is being forced to sack teachers and hike up course fees it beggars belief that treasury has cut $210m its budget,” Ms Car said. “Treasury calls it a ‘repatriation’ but let’s be clear here that this is a cut by another name.”

“It didn’t matter that TAFE said it needed the money to pay for the so-called reform program, Gladys Berejiklian has effectively bullied TAFE into handing over the money. It’s just another example of how this government is setting up TAFE to fail so that it can point to a market failure and invite the private sector to come in and replace it."

The treasurer, Gladys Berejiklian referred comments to the Minister for Skills and Deputy Premier, John Barilaro who rebuked the Opposition’s claims and said the TAFE budget is higher this year than it was last year.

“TAFE NSW’s budget in 2016-17 is $1.82 billion, this is significantly higher than the actual spending in 2015-16 ($1.72 billion),” Mr Barilaro said. “TAFE NSW enrollments are also clearly on the increase and as of 9 October this year they stood at more than 501,000 (since the start of 2016), that’s up more than 122,000 on the same time last year,” he said.

Budget documents show that TAFE lost over 5000 staff members between 2012 and 2015 with fee deregulation and budget cuts being blamed for both these figures.

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