NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has introduced legislation to Parliament to cap TAFE fees at 2014 levels – stating that the Baird Government’s massive fee hikes are the worst possible move in the middle of the current youth unemployment crisis.
From January 1 2015, TAFE fees will increase dramatically – pricing many students out of vocational education and training. Students will 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.
· Apprentices will pay $2000 for a course, up from $500 a year;
· A Certificate III non-apprentice bricklayer course currently costs students $838. As of 1 January 2015 it will cost $3,550;
· A 2-year Diploma of Electrical Engineering currently costs $3,038. But under Mike Baird’s new system, the same course will cost $8,190.
The Baird fee increases come as the Abbott Government moves to deregulate university fees – inviting the prospect of $100,000 degrees.
Labor’s Bill would cap fee increases for Government subsidised TAFE courses at CPI.
“Mike Baird’s fee increases will put TAFE out of reach for many people in NSW – leaving them without hope that they can ever find a job,” Robertson said.
“What kind of Government would impose massive fee hikes in the middle of a youth unemployment crisis?
“With youth unemployment in Western Sydney hitting 17 per cent – and double digit rates everywhere from the Hunter to the Tweed – education is the one area a Government just can’t cut.
“We shouldn’t want a society where young people find it harder than their parents to access university and TAFE – but that’s where the Baird and Abbott Liberal Governments are leading us.
“Mike Baird is doing to TAFE what Tony Abbott is doing to universities.
“The Federal and State Liberals have declared an all-out war on young people and Labor will not stand for it.”
Robertson noted that the Liberals have taken an axe to TAFE – with $800 million of funding slashed and 1100 teachers and staff sacked, including 375 in the recent State budget.
Courses have been slashed across NSW including carpentry and metal fabrication subjects in South Western Sydney and the HSC syllabus in the Hunter and Riverina.
Robertson also reiterated Labor’s commitment to a wide-ranging, high-level review of education and training arrangements in NSW after Year 10 – one every bit as iconic as the Gonski review of school funding.
“Our aim is to ensure every high school student either completes Year 12 or is offered a realistic training pathway to a job,” Robertson said.
“The next Labor Government will gold plate our education system into a world leader while ensuring it remains universally accessible.”
Shadow Education and Training Minister Ryan Park said: “Mike Baird’s massive fee hikes will see many people simply pushed out of the TAFE system and denied the opportunity to get a quality, affordable education.”
“The Liberals are gutting TAFE, a key pillar of our public education system – and taking steps to eventually privatise and run it as a business.
“Every young person should have equal access to vocational study. The people of NSW deserve a Government that will keep public education affordable.”
Youth Unemployment Rate ( 15 – 24 Year Olds)
· Blacktown 15.8%
· South West Sydney 15.4%
· Parramatta 16.8%
· Hawkesbury/Baulkham Hills 12%
· Illawarra 16.5%
· Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven 15.9%
· Far West 14.1%
· New England and North West 13.8%
· Central West 13.5%
· Murray 13.4%
· Mid North Coast 13.3%
· Newcastle and Lake Macquarie 13%
· Riverina 12.6%
· Coffs Harbour-Grafton 12.3%
· Sydney Outer West and Blue Mountains 11.7%
· Central Coast 11.5%
· Richmond-Tweed 11.3%
· Monaro/Capital Region 9.6%
· Hunter Valley 9.5%