Unions resist 'skyrocking' TAFE fees

NSW Teachers Federation organiser Rob Long, Labor’s candidate for Heathcote Maryanne Stuart, State Labor Leader John Robertson and Keira MP Ryan Park outside West Wollongong TAFE in June.

NSW Teachers Federation organiser Rob Long, Labor’s candidate for Heathcote Maryanne Stuart, State Labor Leader John Robertson and Keira MP Ryan Park outside West Wollongong TAFE in June.

NSW Labor's call to end TAFE fee hikes and stop the privatisation of vocational education has been supported by the Illawarra branch of the NSW Teachers Federation and the South Coast Labour Council.

In the budget reply speech on Thursday, Opposition Leader John Robertson said under a Labor government increases to the cost of TAFE courses would be capped at 2014 levels and the current government's plans for market-based vocational education would be abolished.

He also promised to commission a review of education and training in NSW after year 10.

TAFE fees are set to skyrocket from 2015, alarming teachers that their courses would attract too few students to go ahead.

Rob Long, Illawarra TAFE organiser for the NSW Teachers Federation, said he welcomed the announcement, but wanted to meet with Mr Robertson and opposition education spokesman Ryan Park to discuss what policies they would introduce to support their plans if elected.

He said students and staff at Illawarra TAFE campuses were concerned the fee increases would affect their ability to study and teach.

Mr Long also commended the Greens for introducing a bill in the upper house to restore TAFE funding and freeze funds going to private providers of vocational education at 2010/11 levels, which was passed on Thursday.

South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris said he approved of Labor's "commitments to defend our vital and valuable education assets" and called on the government to suspend their plans to privatise the training system until next year's election.

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