Changes to Illawarra TAFE campuses announced today will make it easier for the State Government to hide falling student enrolments, reduced course offers, cuts to teaching positions, and downgraded campus services.

In short, it’ll mean the State Government can slice up any regional campus just like it did to the Dapto TAFE campus over the last six years.

The Dapto TAFE campus was closed late last year despite continual public denials by successive State Government Ministers since 2011, which saw student enrolments of nearly 600 plummet to zero; 111 teaching staff reduced to zero, and services transferred to other campuses.

Despite the changes announced today, the State Government is not offering a single new dollar in extra funding to Illawarra TAFE.

In contrast, NSW Labor has a Bill before State Parliament guaranteeing at least 70 per cent of public funding for NSW TAFE.

And any restructuring announcement by the State Government always has significant job loss implications for the Illawarra region.

The State Government should come clean and tell the Illawarra just how many jobs will go as a result of this restructure.

If there is one silver-lining to the dark clouds over the future of TAFE in the Illawarra, it may be that the region could accommodate a new TAFE Digital Education headquarters, which has been proposed by the State Government.

The State Government, despite a policy of decentralisation, has relocated only 38 public sector jobs to the Illawarra region over the last six years.

Hundreds of other public sector positions have been relocated to other parts of regional NSW and Western Sydney over the same period.


13 July 2016