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Friday, 16 November 2012

O'Farrell's TAFE cuts strike at NSW's cultural and economic future

John Kaye being interviewed at TAFE rally

Media release: 14 November 2012

Greens NSW MP John Kaye joined teachers and students from TAFE colleges around NSW protesting the O'Farrell government's savage cuts to funding for Fine Arts courses outside NSW parliament today.

Dr Kaye said: "It is not just TAFE students and teachers who are being sacrificed. The economic and cultural future of the state is now at risk.

"O'Farrell's cuts to Fine Arts courses will devastate the creative and culturally vibrant art scene in both metropolitan and regional NSW and destroy job opportunities for thousands of budding artists.

"The Fine Arts are as valuable and justifiable as any other TAFE course.

"Cutting 800 jobs from TAFE institutions will severely compromise student learning and gut the quality and viability public vocational education for decades to come.

"TAFE teachers cannot be expected to maintain the quality of education and training with larger classes, few hours of contact, less time to see students out of hour and almost no administrative and educational support.

"If the O'Farrell government's cuts go ahead, many Fine Arts students will be left in the lurch, unable to afford to complete their studies. Opportunities for young people to gain skills and engage with the workforce will be lost.

"The previous Labor government cut TAFE to the bone. After sixteen years in office, per student funding was down 48 percent and fees and charges were 15 percent higher after inflation.

"Despite there being no fat left in the system, the O'Farrell government has picked up where Labor left off, increasing fees and putting impossible levels of pressure on teachers.

"The O'Farrell government has also signed onto the Federal Labor government's plan to dump public TAFE institutions into competition with low-quality private providers.

"Both major parties have shown total disregard for the future of TAFE and the social and economic benefits it provides the community.

"The Greens will continue to stand alongside teachers and students to defend these attacks on TAFE and to secure its future as the public provider of vocational education and training.

"Today I heard over and over again the same message from teachers and students that I have been hearing from community members on my travels around NSW over the past few weeks: TAFE is a highly valued public service that is too precious to lose. People want these cuts to be reversed immediately.

"It's time for the O'Farrell government to listen and abandon its short-sighted cost-cutting TAFE agenda," Dr Kaye said.

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