Greens promising to fully fund TAFE

ELECTION PROMISE: Peter Wills says the party will fully fund TAFE.
ELECTION PROMISE: Peter Wills says the party will fully fund TAFE.

Greens are the only party offering a guarantee for 100 per cent of the public vocational education budget to be devoted to TAFE, says the party’s New England candidate Pete Wills.

Mr Wills has thrown down this challenge as New England by-election candidates prepare for major public education forums to be held across two evenings in Tamworth and Armidale this week.

“Instead of replacing TAFE with an internet cafe like the Nationals, or keeping TAFE on life support with a 70 per cent funding threshold like Labor, the Greens will restore quality public TAFE colleges throughout New England with a 100 per cent funding guarantee,” he said.

Mr Wills said the major parties had put TAFE qualifications beyond the reach of most New Englanders, with course fees totalling many thousands of dollars and student loans offered on less favourable financial terms than those for university students.

“It's unfair on people in rural towns who depend on TAFE to get a start in the workforce,” he said.

“The Greens’ 100 per cent funding guarantee for TAFE will make these qualifications accessible for rural students once again, and fee-free wherever possible.”

The Coalition has “only pressed the accelerator on the dismantling” of TAFE, Mr Wills said.

“In my home town of Quirindi, as well as Glen Innes, Tenterfield, and Armidale, TAFE colleges are being replaced by so-called ‘Connected Learning Centres’ that won't deliver practical skills that are the hallmarks of quality TAFE training,” he said.

“How can anyone safely replace the brakes in a car or repair farm machinery from a YouTube video?

“TAFE is the brakes in your family car. It’s the wiring in the house where your loved ones sleep. You can’t replace that with an internet cafe, as the Nationals would have you believe.”