Illawarra’s deaf residents have come out swinging over ongoing TAFE cuts to services and courses.
They are the latest group to criticise the state government’s lack of funding for vital TAFE courses.
In recent weeks a number of deaf students have turned to the Deaf Society of NSW to express their disappointment and anger with local TAFEs not providing them fair access in their courses.
South Coast Outreach support worker Sara Willyan-Payne said students have been denied note-takers, which had previously been provided. The cut has put deaf students at a huge disadvantage compared to their hearing peers this year.
‘‘Deaf people need to be able to watch a speaker to lip read them or watch an interpreter, so they cannot make their own notes at the same time, unlike people who hear, who can listen and write notes at the same time,’’ she said.
Ms Willyan-Payne said the Deaf Society has referred all deaf students with these issues to make complaints to their TAFE directly, and have supported some who have wanted to write letters to their local MP asking for support.
‘‘They are very upset with the latest developments. This is evident in their comments to me and in letters to their local MPs,’’ she said.
Ms Willyan-Payne said one student had said, ‘‘I will be unable to fulfil my dream,’’ and another said ‘‘I am very disappointed to be told that TAFE will no longer be providing note-takers’’.
Next Monday an information session about TAFE cuts and the ‘‘Smart and Skilled’’ reform, which is due to come out next year, will be held at the Deaf Society of NSW’s South Coast Office at 210 Shellharbour Road, Warrawong (Disability Trust building).
The reform includes a 10per cent loading for students with disabilities, with the 10per cent providing their access needs.
‘‘This loading will in no way be adequate and it appears the cuts to resources have come much earlier,’’ Ms Willyan-Payne said.
‘‘These cuts look like they will affect many people with various disabilities.’’
The information session runs from 11am to 1pm.
Meantime, Shellharbour MP Anna Watson has demanded the NSW government clarifies the future of the Dapto TAFE campus after the refusal of TAFE Illawarra to answer the Illawarra Mercury’s questions on the issue.
“Education minister Adrian Piccoli assured me late last year that the buildings and land at the Dapto TAFE campus would not be sold or leased...to any private training provider,’’ she said.