Greens in Parliament: Stop the Attacks and Fund Tafe Properly

Today we called on the Labor and Liberal parties to stop undermining our Tafe system. It's time to stop the attacks and fund Tafe properly. 


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [10.56 a.m.]: For decades TAFE has been subjected to vicious attacks from State and Federal governments, by both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. It is completely outrageous that this motion suggests that The Greens are part of a scaremongering campaign and are giving out misinformation about TAFE, which is discouraging prospective students from enrolling in TAFE and is threatening TAFE's ongoing viability as a public provider. The Greens are perhaps one of the strongest advocates of TAFE and public education, and have consistently been the loudest voice in protecting TAFE from funding cuts, job losses, privatisation and unfair competition with profit-driven corporations.

Mr Geoff Provest: Did you write this?


Mr Geoff Provest: Profit-driven corporations—really?

Ms JENNY LEONG: Is that where the member is going? Is that where the attack goes? We have seen across the board the massive campaign to stop TAFE cuts across New South Wales—hundreds of thousands of people. At the Newtown Festival just recently six people were collecting signatures on a petition at their stalls—they were there last year. I have seen hundreds of thousands of people across this State come together to campaign against TAFE cuts. We have seen communities join together to sign petitions online—maybe they do not all get out on the street. I note that the member for Northern Tablelands said that people were not scared to join these protests.

My electorate office has received a number of anonymous concerns from people who say they are too scared to speak out publicly because they are worried that they will lose their jobs by talking about the undermining of TAFE by this Government as a result of not advertising courses, not publicising courses and not providing the support needed to encourage and promote our TAFE system. It is clear that TAFE provides an incredible educational opportunity for people. The Greens are strong advocates for public education and the public TAFE system. We know that TAFE has been cut to the bone and it is outrageous that the Government is attacking The Greens and Labor—although, admittedly, Labor in its 16 years in government did not do such a great job of investing in TAFE.

During the time I have been the member for Newtown I have had the opportunity to meet with students at the Design Centre Enmore and I have spoken also to people working at Eora College of Sydney TAFE in Redfern. Many positive stories come out of TAFE. The people who work within the TAFE system and the students are incredible examples of what our public education system can produce. This Government is trying to hide behind the fact that it is cutting TAFE to the bone by blaming the problems in TAFE on the Labor Party and on The Greens. I conclude by mentioning my good friend Willie who works as a bus driver at Eora College. He remembers the day when he first met Adam Goodes. Willie was sweeping the path outside the Eora building when he saw the young Sydney Swans player and a teammate across the road. They walked across and asked what the centre was about and Willie showed them around. They both enrolled at the Eora College. Adam Goodes is a proud graduate of Eora College, as are so many other people. [Time expired.]


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