Friday 6 September 2013

A future for TAFE!

The TAFE Community Alliance welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister at the ALP Launcthat under a re-elected Rudd Government there will be a strong future for TAFE. We welcome a Federal Government ensuring that states maintain funding to TAFE, and continue to support TAFE as the 'bedrock' of their VET system. We have had no such commitment from an Abbott Government.
The Alliance speaks on behalf of many community groups who want a quality accessible TAFE system in this country that delivers education and training for communities and individuals as well as for industry. Funding cuts to TAFE across Australia have put this important public provider in jeopardy. We call on any Federal Government and Opposition to make a continued commitment to the future
of TAFE.
Contact Linda Simon, a spokesperson for the TAFE Community Alliance for further comment on
More information can be found out about the Alliance at

Who owns TAFE?

The NSW Government released two documents this week describing two very different views of the future for TAFE NSW.  The TAFE Commission Board’s ‘Let’s Talk about TAFE had several thousand respondents focusing on the TAFE benefits to community and industry.  96% of people said TAFE services are valuable to NSW, 97% feel TAFE NSW is important for providing apprentice training, and 
86% feel TAFE is valuable to their local community.  Surely a strong endorsement from the people of NSW for their TAFE system! 

At the same time the Government released Owner expectations of TAFE NSW.  In this the Government refers both to TAFE as a statewide service and as a government‐owned business. The TAFE Community Alliance believes that it is the people who own TAFE.  It is a publicly owned vocational education and training statewide system being made by government to operate like a 

The Alliance asks the NSW Government the fundamental questions: 

•     Why should TAFE have to compete for its core funding to deliver courses? 

•     Why should it become less reliant on government funding when it is a public system? 

•     When did the taxpayer decide it was to become a business? 

•     Why in a document about TAFE NSW, is there no reference to either teachers or teaching? 

The people of NSW own their public TAFE system, and they want it to remain accessible with low fees and able to deliver high quality courses with professional teachers across NSW.  How do we know that?  The Government told us so in the report from the consultation it requested ‘Let’s Talk about TAFE’.  The Alliance calls on the NSW Government to listen to the people of NSW and to properly fund and support its TAFE system. 

For further information, contact: TAFE Community Alliance

Community calls on State Politicians to take action!

Hundreds of community members endorsed a resolution calling on the NSW Government to maintain TAFE as the major provider of vocational education and training in this state, at the Friday night ‘Trivia for a Cause’.
Over 300 people attended the evening on 24 May, which was jointly sponsored by the TAFE Community Alliance and the Addison Road Community Centre. The Alliance includes community members, educationalists, students and academics, all who support TAFE and its important role in delivering quality education and training.   
Carmel Tebbutt, Opposition spokesperson for Education, spoke of TAFE’s important role in supporting communities, and in ensuring we have the skills for a productive economy.  NSW Greens education spokesperson John Kaye challenged the Government to keep funding TAFE, and not to support private providers focused on profit not education.
Trivia night participants signed hundreds of letters to NSW politicians drawing their attention to the risks the ‘Smart and Skilled’ proposed changes will bring to TAFE.  Unanimously they endorsed the resolution and committed to continuing action.
The resolution said:
 This meeting of TAFE supporters calls on the NSW State Government to:
  • Maintain TAFE NSW as the major provider of vocational education and training in this state
  • Restore funding to TAFE so that it can deliver quality education in a wide range of industry areas on all current TAFE campuses
  • Put “Smart and Skilled NSW” on hold, as a competitive training market will not lead to better quality or more accessible courses for students
  • Keep TAFE accessible by keeping TAFE fees low
  • Maintain specialist units such as Outreach, Aboriginal, Multicultural, Disabilities, Language Literacy and Numeracy, and Counselling, which provide support and education to students who may have additional learning needs
  • Resource TAFE to address the needs of all students, including those requiring  second-chance and further education, and prevent TAFE being forced into a for-profit model of operation
  • Maintain high quality educational standards with professionally qualified teachers  
For further information, contact:

Trivia with a Cause – TAFE too important to lose!

Over 300 people will be attending the Trivia with a Cause event on Friday 24 May at the Addison Road Community Centre.  The event is jointly sponsored by the TAFE Community Alliance and the Addison Road Community Centre. 

The Alliance includes community members, educationalists, students and academics, all who support TAFE and its important role in delivering quality education and training to students across the state. 

Rosanna Barbero, the General Manager of the Community Centre, has hosted a number of trivia nights at the centre, but considers the TAFE issue a really critical one for the local community. She is concerned with what could happen to the outreach programs that TAFE runs for the centre, if a competitive training market allocates government funding instead to for-profit providers.  “Private providers,” she said, “have one main goal, to maximise profit. This conflicts with TAFE’s mandate to ensure quality, equality and a right to education for all”.

The TAFE Community Alliance opposes the proposed changes to vocational education and training, as outlined in the State Government’s ‘Smart and Skilled NSW’ plan.  Under such a plan a competitive training market will be created with government funding being allocated on a contestable basis.  TAFE, instead of focusing on quality education and the skills required by NSW citizens, will instead be focused on winning tenders and securing sufficient funds to continue to operate. 

“NSW is at risk of going down the same track as Victoria,” said an Alliance spokesperson Linda Simon.  “TAFE Institutes could face a financial crisis and become just another provider in a market focused on low-cost and low-quality courses.  We don’t believe that this is what the people of NSW want, and believe it is important that they are aware of what the Government is proposing. TAFE is and must remain part of the community, providing affordable and accessible training in skills needed by the community and valued by employers.”

“We’ll keep highlighting these issues through events such as the one tonight,” said Ms Simon. “There is a groundswell of concerned people, and some will be at the trivia night to hear more and find out what sort of action they can take.”

Media are welcome.
Friday 24 May 2013

7.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Speeches at 8.00 pm
The Hon Carmel Tebbutt, Opposition spokesperson for Education/Member for Marrickville
Dr John Kaye, Education Spokesperson for the NSW Greens

The Gumbramorra Hall,
Addison Rd Community Centre
142 Addison Rd, Marrickville

For further information, contact:

TAFE Community Alliance Launch

Media and community groups are invited to attend the launch of the TAFE Community Alliance on:
Friday 22 February 2013
10.30 am start
Western Sydney Community Forum Level 4, 146 Marsden Street Parramatta
Government funding cuts to TAFE! Loss of some 800 professional teachers! Moves to a competitive training market, student vouchers and no guarantee of a quality TAFE qualification! Increases in student fees and charges! And the list goes on....

The TAFE Community Alliance is being formally launched in the heart of western Sydney on Friday, but already hundreds of concerned citizens have signed up to the Alliance. They call on both state and Federal governments and all political parties to ensure that TAFE continues to be supported in NSW, and that we do not face the loss of courses and campuses like our colleagues in Victoria.

Speakers at the launch represent a wide range of concerned groups:

  • Maree O’Halloran – National Welfare Rights Network
  • Jozefa Sobski – former Institute Director TAFE NSW
  • Carmel Tebbutt – Shadow Minister for Education and Training
  • John Kaye – NSW Greens MP and spokesperson for Education
  • Mary Waterford – Western Sydney Community Forum
  • TAFE students  

Quotes from our speakers:
"For the first time in a century, NSW is staring at a future without a public provider of vocational education and training. Budget cuts, attacks on the conditions for teachers and students and increasingly aggressive competition for funds and students are taking TAFE to the brink of collapse. This will have appalling consequences for the future of the state. Today's meeting is the first step in building community awareness of what is at stake if the O'Farrell government continues with its attacks on TAFE."

TAFE is described as the backbone of the training system in the publicity on Smart and Skilled. Why are governments intent on breaking this back with increasing commercialization and competition and decreasing funding? There is pressure to cheapen its courses while making it dearer to study them. The downgrading of teaching qualifications is eroding the quality of its teachers. The standard
of its facilities is at risk. The community, commerce, business and industry need a widely distributed, effective, accessible and affordable TAFE system, there for the most vulnerable as well as the most well-heeled.

TAFE is well known as the major provider of 'second chance' education opportunities for those who may not have enjoyed successful educational experiences previously. It is the biggest provider of affordable, accessible training in key skills for our communities, especially for people on income support or low incomes and poor transport options. Many communities across Greater Western Sydney will be adversely impacted upon by cuts to TAFE.

The TAFE Community Alliance is an advocacy and strategy group. It recognises and cares about TAFE’s role in not just educating individuals, but also in the building of the social, cultural and economic capacity of communities across NSW. TAFE accommodates the needs of people who have disabilities, Aboriginal students and those from non-English speaking backgrounds. The Alliance knows that TAFE is too important to lose, and will campaign to stop its demise.

Speakers will be available for comment on the day.  Go to for
further information.