Greens bring bill to fight TAFE cutbacks

Greens MP John Kaye will introduce a bill into state Parliament next week aimed at protecting TAFE from funding cuts.

Dr Kaye launched the bill outside Wollongong TAFE late last year and it has since won the support of NSW Labor.

Its parliamentary debut will come after data released by the minor party showed Illawarra TAFE has shed more than 30 teaching and support positions since January 2013, in preparation for the O'Farrell government's Smart and Skilled reforms.

Under the reforms, funding would follow a student to the college where they enrolled, so TAFE institutes would have to compete with private colleges.

Dr Kaye said the new arrangements would place TAFE in a "unwinnable competition with low-cost, low-quality providers".

"It's highly possible that this will be the era in which TAFE goes into substantial collapse.

"It's happened in Victoria, it's happened in South Australia and we don't want it to happen in the Illawarra," he said.

Dr Kaye said his cause had become more desperate since he launched the bill in Wollongong in November, with 395 full-time TAFE positions lost statewide since January last year.

"The more I hear, the more I understand the threat of the competitive market is forcing TAFE managers to ditch every single course they think they can get away with," he said.

The cuts are understood to pose a particular challenge to students with special needs.

At least two deaf students have recently withdrawn from Illawarra TAFE courses because they were denied access to previously available note-taking aides.

Dr Kaye's bill seeks to restore TAFE funding to its 2010 levels, stop fee hikes and job losses while a "debate" takes place about how much the state should spend on TAFE.

Dr Kaye ultimately makes the case for a dramatic increase in TAFE funding.

His bill would require the votes of the Shooters and Fishers Party or the Christian Democrats to advance through the upper house.

Dr Kaye is to introduce the bill on March 20.

It may then be brought on for debate later in March or early April.

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