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Media Releases

Stand Up for TAFE media release pdf

With just over a week to go to the NSW state elections, candidates are ensuring that TAFE is also an issue. The TAFE Community Alliance has had an overwhelming response to their questionnaire, with Labor, Greens, Animal Justice Party and Small Business Party giving their support, and candidates from most other parties as well as Independents answering yes and expressing their concerns as to the current state of TAFE NSW.

NSW Government Track Record on TAFE Challenged pdf

“The NSW Government’s claims about TAFE funding and student enrolments do not stand up to a simple fact check from information publicly available from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER),” said Linda Simon, spokesperson for the TAFE Community Alliance.

TAFE Community Alliance Stand Up for TAFE

"We are concerned about the government attacks, the competitive trading market, the effects this combined has had on loss of courses, loss of teachers and loss of quality in the system," Ms Simon said.

NSW election candidates Stand Up for TAFE

'NSW goes to the polls on 23 March and the outcome is not clear at this time. There are many programs being highlighted and funding promised by the major parties, with TAFE an area of concern. The TAFE Community Alliance asked candidates to ‘Stand Up for TAFE’ and were overwhelmed with the strength of the responses from many candidates and not surprised at the lack of interest from others.'

Fewer TAFE Students & Teachers, More Administrative Staff

The news is bad in the just released TAFE NSW Annual Report. There is a loss of $239m over the year 2017/18. Support staff have increased from 4194 in June 2017 to 4568 in June 2018. Teaching staff have declined from 5482 to 5458.

Jozefa SobskiJozefa Sobski:
profile & archive of speeches & letters

Linda SimonsLinda Simon:
Profile & speeches



Pollies TalkTAFE

As part of its advocacy role, the Alliance seeks a commitment from political parties in the upcoming elections to ensure that TAFE should exist and be supported by government to provide quality training incorporating ongoing development of appropriate educational pedagogy.  The statement of commitment published by the TAFE Community Alliance says: “We expect a commitment to a statewide publicly-owned technical and further education system.  We expect this system to grow and flourish as it meets the priorities of educational, social and industry policy.  We do not expect this system to operate like a business to break even or make a profit, but a public education and training system serving society efficiently and providing value and quality for the public dollar.”

Party Statements

.Labor Party



Senate Inquiry into TAFE pdf

IPART response pdf

NSW Parliamentary Economic Development Committee

"The Committee finds that TAFE NSW is the backbone of vocational education and training in NSW and that to achieve the state’s economic and social priorities it is vital that TAFE NSW receives appropriate and adequate funding."

To read full report pdf

Report on False Economies

Read the report from Centre for Policy Development. pdfIt is their series on False Economies. TAFE is referred to in the report where there is comparison of the work of TAFE and private RTOs.  

Election 2019 - Stand up for TAFE

Dear candidate in the NSW state elections,

These elections we ask for your commitment to TAFE NSW as the pre-eminent provider of vocational education and training in this state.

Both state and federal governments have undermined the ability of TAFE NSW to deliver the quality vocational education and training required by the people of NSW. Government funding for TAFE NSW continues to be cut and TAFE student fees continue to increase. TAFE NSW is no longer the accessible training organisation it once was. The government is dictating what courses TAFE can provide and where they can be provided. TAFE enrolments have been falling every year since 2015 due to price increases, cuts to courses and teaching staff. Election announcements from the State Government have narrowly focused on free places for apprentices most of whom are paid for by their employers.

TAFE NSW has been plagued by staffing freezes and cuts to teaching staff, with the costs of the ‘One TAFE’ restructure taking precedence over funding frontline teaching services.

This election provides you with the opportunity to make TAFE an issue and ensure whatever the make-up of the government post-election, there will be a commitment to ensuring increased funding and focus on TAFE NSW. We ask you to provide answers to the following questions, so that the TAFE Community Alliance can publicise your support through its website and social media.

  1. Do you support increased government funding to ensure a sustainable publicly funded TAFE NSW?
  2. Will you work to oppose the continuation of the competitive training market in vocational education, and ensure TAFE NSW is supported as the public training provider in this state?
  3. Do you support local TAFE colleges for local industries and communities, ensuring a wide range of hands on training facilities across this state?


Stand Up for TAFE Trivia

A memorable event. Thanks everyone who attended our fundraiser trivia night for our Stand up for TAFE campaign. It was a wonderful night with many familiar faces and lots of conversation about TAFE. TAFE needs our support more than ever. The Stand Up for TAFE trivia night kicks off our campaign for 2019 elections. Watch this space. Thanks especially to Addison Rd Community Centre and the many people who contributed to a great evening.

Stand Up for TAFE

We welcome Caralee McLiesh as the Managing Director of TAFE NSW

The Hon John Barilaro MP is Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business - which includes TAFE NSW with Adam Marshall as the Minister for Skills

Prue Car is the Shadow Minister for Skills in NSW

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash is the Minister for Vocational Edcuation

Kate Ellis Shadow Minister for Vocational Education

Bipartisan Catastrophe

Government Report Endorses Labor TAFE Policy

The Turnbull Government’s own report on the review of the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform, released today, has proven that Labor’s National Partnership Agreement did require TAFE to be protected and also provided evidence that this has not been the case under the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Governments.

The TAFE plunder

How to lose $4 billion without even trying.

The federal government's botched vocational education and training scheme has cost taxpayers $6 billion. TAFEs, unable to compete with the private institutions, have been forced to close and thousands of teachers have lost their jobs. ReporterPaddy Manning investigates the rorting and the incompetence.



TAFEs shabby treatment

'The state government’s Smart and Skilled policy for vocational training is at the very least misname. It is discouraging would-be students from signing up to gain skills. Nothing smart about that, one would think. "

'TAFE was once the part of the education system that helped individuals negotiate the sometimes difficult transition from school to work.

It provided not only vocational education pure and simple, but also a safety net for those who had abandoned school early and subsequently wanted to return to the education system, whether to improve their work qualifications, or to broaden their minds.

It was an organic, flexible organisation that could offer students from different backgrounds, and in a wide range of personal circumstances, a way to improve themselves.

Now that schooling to the end of you 12 is, for better or worse, virtually compulsory, there is less need for that remedial role.

As universities, competing desperately for students, offer more and more vocational training courses which lead to a degree, not just a certificate, TAFE finds itself squeezed on several sides.

Both those trends, however, should be questioned. For many young people, schools are uncongenial and discouraging prices; more of them should be encouraged into TAFE courses.

Universities both demean their status and waste money by offering courses more appropriate for TAFE. Funding for education, like everything else, is limited, and must be made to stretch as far as possible.

Governments federal and state should think long and hard before they allow a sector of education as useful and as efficient as TAFE to expire through neglect. "


Who we are

The TAFE Community Alliance is an advocacy and strategy group that recognises the central role of the public VET provider in the building of social, cultural and economic capacity of communities across NSW. The Alliance campaigns to maintain TAFE's central role in vocational education and training.

Six parties standing for election have now  given a resounding yes to TAFE Community Alliance questions on TAFE Labor, Greens, Animal Justice Party, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Socialist Alliance and Sustainable Australia Party.

No responses were received from Liberals, Liberal Democrats, One Nation, Sustainable Australia ro Australian Conservatives. The Nationals only response came from John Barilaro.

We surveyed candidates in the up coming state elections about their views on TAFE

No matter who you are TAFE is open to everyone.

TAFE gives everyone a second chance, the opportunity to learn skills for employment and an opportunity to contribute to the community. If you are uncertain about your career or need more education and training; TAFE has always been there - affordable, accessible - providing great quality education and professional specialist student support. There is a TAFE College in every community across NSW.

Redesigning VET FEE-Help

The Government was warned years ago of the possible consequences of the introduction of VET FEEHelp without the proper regulations in place. A case in point is the issues raised by the TAFE Directors Australia 2011/12 National Charter for TAFE: “TDA asserts that until the new VET regulatory system is firmly in place, it is folly to provide open access to government training funds on the basis of demand alone. To do so invites a repetition of practices that occurred in the international market. The issue of the viability of the market in terms of the number of providers, the associated risks and the cost of regulating them has been ignored, to the detriment of Australia’s reputation.” Read More

The National Scandal

Whilst the TAFE Community Alliance welcomes the opportunity to participate in the discussion paper and to contribute to the options presented, we also want to put it clearly on the record that we are appalled at the national scandal that has been propagated through the implementation of VET FEE-HELP. It is a national scandal and we are surprised that governments have not acknowledged that it is so. $2.9 billion has been borrowed tofund VET FEE-HELP loans as of 2015, and the paper acknowledges that the Government does not expect a large proportion of these loans to be repaid. In saying this, the Government must also be acknowledging that a large proportion of these loans were inappropriately made.

Read more

John Kaye - TAFE Hero

Since the las t election we lost a great man, a friend and a tireless campaigner for TAFE. The rallies will never seem the same without John at our side.

John Kaye TAFE hero

TCA is appalled that the Berejiklian Government continues to take even more funding from TAFE, and increase student fees above already unreasonable rates. Fees are obviously going to keep increasing, making an entitlement model a joke. Contact your local State MP and protest

Berejiklian locks in multibillion-dollar pokies deal with Clubs NSW

TAFE training facilities and Service NSW kiosks could be located inside registered clubs across the state, under a deal struck between the NSW government and the powerful clubs lobby that also maintains the special tax treatment for the pokies industry for another four years.

The agreement between the Coalition and Clubs NSW, signed at the conclusion of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week at the weekend, has reignited criticism from anti-gambling advocates over the government's relationship with the clubs lobby. Read more...

Jozefa Sobski Statement to Senate Inquirypdf

"The TCA views TAFE as a public education and training system for building a productive and skilled workforce and an inclusive and fair society."

TCA VFH Senate Submission

We want to put on record the damage that the wider application of VET FEE-HELP has made to the VET system, its providers and students. Submissionpdf

Why so long?

Why has it taken the Government and the ACCC so long to realise the money that was being ripped out of the system, and the students being taken for a ride?

The ABC reports the consumer watchdog targeting a second private training college, alleging it signed up vulnerable people — some with intellectual disabilities — and citing problems with the Government's VET FEE-HELP system.

TCA Letter to Minister Barilaro

'The TAFE Community Alliance welcomed both your freeze on TAFE fees and the reduction of fees for some pathways courses. ...' Read the letterpdf

TCA Letter to PM

'The Alliance has been particularly concerned at the impact of VET reforms on the quality and sustainability of TAFE Institutes across the country...' Read the letterpdf

Flaws of free-market thinking

Senator Simon Birmingham says the low completion rates are "absolutely unacceptable. See Letters to the editor: "Governments constantly call for more skilled workers, yet at the same time have cut the funding to TAFE so significantly, that it is just a shadow of its former self. Courses are being closed, hours cut and fees are also out of the reach of many Australians. Is this the sort of vocational education system we want in Australia?"

The state budget revealed 83,000 fewer students enrolled in 2015 than in 2012, despite a $2-billion investment this year.

Short sighted and damaging
School leavers vote with their feet
Ghost town campus

Students hit hard - TCA Repsonse

WAVE National Conference 2015

WAVE partnered with Manufacturing Skills Australia to hold its national conference entitled 'Leaders, teachers, learners, leavers:  Women in the Australian VET market'.

No matter who you are TAFE is open to everyone.

TAFE gives everyone a second chance, the opportunity to learn skills for employment and an opportunity to contribute to the community. If you are uncertain about your career or need more education and training; TAFE has always been there - affordable, accessible - providing great quality education and professional specialist student support. There is a TAFE College in every community across NSW.