Dapto could be left without any TAFE presence according to government documents obtained by NSW Labor.
TAFE currently leases a shopfront on the Princes Hwy, while the former TAFE site on Fowlers Rd is being leased to NSW Police.
However Shadow Minister for Skills and TAFE Tim Crakanthorp and Shellharbour MP Anna Watson claim ministerial briefing documents obtained by NSW Labor reveal that the government recommends ending the lease on the Princes Hwy site as part of a tranche of divestments across the state.
The MPs - who visited the Dapto shopfront on Monday - say the sensitive briefing document from September 2020 also reveals the 1.4ha Fowlers Rd site has been earmarked for disposal. At the time the site was valued at $2.5 million.
"Dapto deserves much more than that. We are in a skills shortage and we should be increasing access to training opportunities, not making it harder," Mr Crakanthorp said.
"It is very alarming and quite distressing when we have tens of thousands of positions now vacant due to the skill shortage coming out of COVID. And with a new variant coming I think it will be even harder to bring people in from overseas.
"We shouldn't be reliant on overseas workers anyway. We should be skilling up and training all our young people now. We have very high youth unemployment and this is the perfect opportunity to invest in their future."
Ms Watson could remember when 320 people were employed at the Dapto TAFE. But under the present government's watch the once busy campus has been replaced with a CBD shopfront, which they now want to close as well.
She said as one of the fastest growing population centres in NSW, any move to withdraw a TAFE presence from the suburb just didn't make sense.
"At budget estimates a few weeks ago it was put to them by the shadow minister and our Upper House members and the TAFE executives claimed not to know about it. But we have documentation to prove otherwise," she said.
"Without a TAFE how are we ever going to bring back manufacturing. We need to be ensuring manufacturing does come back to this country, particularly in the regions because that will provide jobs
"I remember back in 2011 when we had 320 teachers at Dapto TAFE. Including library staff and cleaners and now there is no presence at all.
"I am sure all parents of school age children are thinking 'what hope are my children going to have when they leave school and there is no TAFE. And how are my kids going to get the skills qualifications to have a life'."
Ms Watson said with a housing emergency and affordability becoming a major issue, future generations won't be able to afford a house because they won't have the skills and the qualifications to get skilled jobs.
NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the member for Shellharbour had conveniently forgotten that four short years ago she led the charge to shut down the TAFE NSW Access Point at Dapto, referring to it as an example of "the state government wasting money on leasing new commercial facilities."
"The Access Point, located at 67 Princes Highway, Dapto is used for activities such as collecting student testamurs. I am advised the site is not used for training delivery," he said.
"TAFE NSW proposes to exit this lease arrangement and reinvest resources in the local area. Wollongong, Wollongong West, and Yallah TAFE campuses are all located within 15km of Dapto.
"I have not approved any future plans concerning TAFE NSW Dapto (Fowlers Road). The remaining site is leased by NSW Police for training purposes. The lease was extended until January 2023.
"TAFE NSW offers training and qualifications that meet local enrolment demand, industry requirements, and skills needs.
"There are currently 140 courses available, from entry-level qualifications through to diplomas, available for the people of Dapto via the nearby Wollongong, Wollongong West and Yallah campuses in Semester 1, 2022.
"These include in-demand skills such as accounting, horticulture, veterinary nursing, event management, community services, early education, engineering, and heavy vehicle mechanical technology."