The Dapto TAFE campus has been slowly, but surely, systematically gutted by the NSW Government since the Liberal Government took power in 2011.
Student and staff numbers have fallen in consecutive years since 2011:
– Since the last year of the former NSW Labor Government, when 111 staff worked at the Dapto TAFE, staff numbers at Dapto TAFE had fallen by 22 to just 83 staff in 2014. The numbers only continued to drop.
– A significant fall in student enrolments at the campus also occurred in each year, from 658 students in 2010 to just 348 in 2012 and 274 in 2013.
These falling numbers at the Dapto TAFE are a direct result of cuts to vocational education and training, and the sacking of TAFE staff across New South Wales.
Disturbingly, the Minister has since made clear that his Government will no longer be providing enrolment data for any individual college anywhere in New South Wales, keeping secret any further drops in numbers in coming years.
Services and courses were also hived off to other TAFE campuses in the region, including the Illawarra Institute Finance Unit which was on the Dapto TAFE campus but was closed down and relocated to West Wollongong TAFE.
Over five years, Anna has fought for the Dapto TAFE campus. She’s been joined by the community and other local state and federal Labor MPs to demand the NSW Government guarantee the future of the campus and rule out any planned transfer of staff and functions operating at the campus to other TAFEs in the region.
However, despite continual public denials by successive State Government Ministers since 2011, the Dapto TAFE campus continued to be gutted by the NSW Government. Rumours the Government planned to sell-off the campus were confirmed in late 2015.
In January 2016, Dapto TAFE campus was closed. By then, a ghost campus, it saw 111 teaching staff slashed to zero; student enrolments of nearly 700 plummet to zero, and services transferred to other campuses.
The removal of the Dapto TAFE campus signage in March 2016 represented the end of an era for education and vocational training in the area.
It’s now been replaced by a tiny TAFE Illawarra shopfront in the Dapto CBD – a “glorified information kiosk” with no facilities, library, or even toilet amenities for students. It’s a standard that even NSW Skills Minister, Adam Marshall, has admitted in 2017 is “not acceptable”. The cost of leasing the shopfront – now reduced to merely an “access point” – the State Government is also keeping secret.
The campus site was finally removed from the State Government’s sell-off hit list, with the revelation it would be leased to the NSW Police Force for three years to allow training under the Government’s armed offenders program.
“The deliberately, systematic gutting of Dapto TAFE over five years has been an incredible insult to the growing community of Dapto and West Dapto,” Anna Watson said.