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State Member for Cessnock Clayton Barr has said that a NSW Labor Government will protect the future of TAFE by placing a cap on the amount of public funding that can be contested by private operators – a policy that will provide funding certainty for this vital educational institution.

A NSW Labor Government will cap contestable funding for private education providers at 30%, thereby providing TAFE campuses with a guaranteed pool of funding to continue the great job it does for local communities.

In Victoria, 70% of vocational education and training funding is contestable which has led to the destruction of the TAFE system in that state. NSW Labor’s plan of a 30% cap will stand in stark contrast and will ensure TAFE funding in NSW is protected.

This announcement adds to Labor’s previous commitment to abolish the Baird Liberal Government’s massive TAFE fee hikes by capping fees at 2014 levels.

Labor has already committed to abolish the Coalition’s market-based vocational training system in government – stopping the mass sackings, cuts to courses and the massive fee increases to ensure we have a fair and affordable vocational education and training system in NSW.

Under the Baird Liberal Government TAFE fees will dramatically increase from 1 January 2015 – pricing many students out of essential vocational training.

Students will now face fees of up to $4,000 for basic certificates at TAFE – with 40 per cent of students set to pay between $500 and $1,500 extra for courses.

Under the changes introduced by the Liberal Government, apprentices will pay up to $2,000 for a course – up from $500 a year.

“TAFE is a fantastic educational asset for our region and a Labor Government will ensure that it has the secure funding it needs to continue to deliver educational courses and opportunities to our community,” Clayton Barr said.

“The Liberals are putting profits before students but a Labor Government will put education and our community first. The private education providers have a role to play in offering educational courses but Labor will not allow TAFE to be a casualty of diverting funding to large companies and corporations who are profit drive,” Mr Barr said.

“A Labor Government will always invest in the TAFE system. TAFE has been a magnificent educational institution and provided training and opportunities to thousands of our local residents over many years,” he said.

“If the Liberals and Nationals are given another four years then TAFE will be destroyed in the same way it has been in Victoria. The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government is heading down the same path as Victoria – with their own Auditor-General recently raising dire concerns about the financial viability of many Victorian TAFE campuses,” Mr Barr said.

“Our local community will be able to go to the March state election with a clear choice – a vote for Labor is a vote to save and protect TAFE, while a vote for the Liberals and Nationals will see TAFE destroyed,” he said.

Under Labor’s Plan for NSW TAFE:

  • The Liberal’s ‘Smart and Skilled’ privatisation program will be scrapped;
  • TAFE Fees will be frozen at 2014 levels indexed to inflation; and
  • A 30 per cent cap will be placed on the amount of public funds that can be contestable by private operators.