Minister denies TAFE privatisation plans

NSW Education and Training Minister Verity Firth has rejected claims the State Government is planning to privatise TAFE colleges.

But North Coast TAFE organiser Malcolm Ogg doesn't believe her.

The comments follow reports yesterday that state education ministers would discuss a privatisation plan recommended by a private company, Boston Consulting Group.

“If the states' education ministers adopt the proposal, then TAFE's $4 billion annual funding will be up for grabs,” Mr Ogg said.

Ms Firth said the proposal would be up for discussion by the states and the Commonwealth at the Council of Australian Governments meeting next month.

“No final decisions have yet been made,” she said.

“We are happy to discuss this paper and work with the Commonwealth on reforms, but are not willing to agree to anything that impacts on the quality of our TAFE training.”

Mr Ogg said TAFE as an entity would cease to exist if the plan passed, with students paying higher prices for lower quality courses.

“Privatisation would limit students' access to courses, remove less 'cost effective' courses, and ultimately deter potential students,” Mr Ogg said.

The Australian Education Union said the changes would include a system similar to the university sector's HECS scheme.

The union also warned TAFEs would be also forced to compete for the funding of community services such as quality low-cost training and libraries.



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