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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 federal election

These elections we ask for your commitment to ensuring that TAFE is positioned as the pre-eminent public institution providing the essential and trusted hub of Australia’s diverse vocational education and training system

Over the past decades, many state and national reviews, including the recent Joyce Review commissioned by the Morrison Government, have found fatal flaws in the design and implementation of “reforms” that have actually weakened the national TAFE system, with negative consequences for students, local communities and local firms and industries, and regional and local development. The VET system is broken. The systematic decimation of local and regional TAFE institutions is a primary cause.

All around Australia, thousands of TAFE teachers and education support staff have been sacked, and campuses closed, many being sold off. As teachers are sacked, education and industry expertise has been lost and this cannot be renewed overnight. TAFE enrolments have fallen markedly because both State and Federal government policies have preferenced private providers, many of dubious quality, and driven up student fees, even for the most disadvantaged. Government policies are dictating what courses individual TAFEs can provide and where they can be provided, limiting TAFE’s ability to respond flexibly to local needs. Total public funding for VET has declined in the past ten years while funding for schools and higher education has increased because of perverse Federal and State funding incentives. Meanwhile, providers with little commitment to regional and local development thrive.

Restoring TAFE’s pre-eminent role at the heart of Australia’s VET system will require evidence-based action on many fronts over many years, not a quick fix or a new short-term program with a catchy title.

This election provides you with the opportunity to make the revitalisation of TAFE an issue and ensure that whatever the make-up of the Federal Government post-election, there will be an enduring and bipartisan commitment to TAFE as a public institution serving student access and support, local and regional communities and industries.

We invite you to provide answers to the following three questions, so that the TAFE Community Alliance can publicise your position through its website and social media.

  1. Will you actively support increased core funding from the Federal Government budget for local TAFE institutions around Australia? (YES/NO)

  2. Will you work to wind back the contestable training market? (YES/NO)

  3. Will you advocate for the Federal Government to increase its investment in the quality of TAFE teachers

    as both educational and industry experts, and in the scholarship of teaching and learning. (YES/NO)

If you would like to discuss any of these issues further, please contact Linda Simon or one of the other spokespersons for the TAFE Community Alliance –

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.

Response to questions from candidates in federal election:

More of the same in VET or a new vision?

"There are significant differences between the views of the major parties in relation to the future of vocational education and training, including the amount of money promised and their commitment to rebuilding the TAFE sector as the cornerstone of VET." Read Linda Simon's succint summary, 'a critical contribution at this moment...'

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.