Labor has launched a petition to save Kingswood TAFE and stop Government cuts.
State Member for Londonderry, Prue Car and Shadow Ministers Adam Searle and Sophie Cotsis are seeking 10,000 signatures that will make sure the issue will be debated on the floor of Parliament.
But State Penrith MP Stuart Ayres has accused the Opposition of being dishonest with the community.
Labor’s Duty MLC for Penrith, Mr Searle, said the Government is creating structural disincentives, leading to a future skills shortage.
“This is a Government by the North Shore, for the North Shore. They just do not care about the people out here,” he said.
“If we get 10,000 signatures, we can provoke a debate in the Lower House where the Government will actually have to respond to those concerns.”
The petition calls on the Legislative Assembly to stop cuts to TAFE funding that Labor says are increasing fees, reducing enrolments, reducing the number of courses and sacking staff.
“These cuts have been underway for the last four years – over a billion dollars, 2,500 teachers less, 30,000 less students,” Mr Searle said.
Ms Car made reference to a leaked cabinet document suggesting the Government will strip a further $63 million from TAFE buildings and shut down regional campuses.
“These revelations came out under Freedom of Information, but the cuts to TAFE have been happening since the Government’s election in 2011,” she said.
Ms Car holds grave concerns for the future of Kingswood TAFE that has provided thousands of locals with the skills they need to get a job.
“TAFE students are worried they will not be able to continue with their studies, and that’s what I’m hearing from this community every day,” she said.
“Student numbers at TAFE Colleges in western Sydney are falling every day and this is not acceptable.”
But Mr Ayres said the NSW Government’s investment in VET and TAFE this financial year is 11 per cent higher than in 2010-11 under Labor.
“With more money being invested in TAFE this year than in any year under Labor, perhaps they should spend more time being honest with the community,” he said.
– Dale Drinkwater