TAFE questions?

Ed, We believe the North Coast TAFE Institute Director has written to her staff in response to last week’s reports about proposed asset sales. These reports were based on a Cabinet document that was leaked to Greens MP John Kaye. With regard to Trenayr she admits that staff will be relocated to Grafton. However she then states the Institute is still seeking options for re-purposing or mothballing the site. But the Cabinet document states that the full site at Trenayr will be sold for a return of $1.85 million. And so TAFE will lose a purpose-built facility that should be used for the development of expertise for critical sectors of the rural economy. With regard to Maclean, she claims there’s no plan to sell the facility, as it is a shared site with the school. But the Cabinet document states that the full site will be divested to Maclean High School for a return of $1.24 million to TAFE. This is setting schools against TAFE – and that’s a zero sum game. We shouldn’t have an either–or scenario. Instead we need an outcome that provides growth opportunities for all levels of public education. In both cases, she has dismissed a cabinet-in-confidence document which contains very specific information about divesting the North Coast TAFE Institute’s assets and facilities – a document that must have been prepared with considerable input from her or her staff. The North Coast TAFE Institute is responding to the pressures of the competition agenda and the lack of secure ongoing funding by shifting to online delivery. This then is their excuse for selling off facilities and land. The Greens remain very concerned about the current obsession with online delivery of courses. It is nothing more than a cost-cutting exercise forced by budget cuts due to the Liberals and Nationals’ Smart and Skilled training market. The Greens do not want to see any divestment that closes off the expansion of higher educational opportunities at Maclean, Trenayr or anywhere else in the state. Karen Von Ahlefeldt and Greg Clancy – Co-convenors, Clarence Greens