Anger over TAFE downgrades

FIGHTING WORDS: Kathy Nicholson, Mick Veitch and Cheryl Amor front the rally.
FIGHTING WORDS: Kathy Nicholson, Mick Veitch and Cheryl Amor front the rally.

TAFE teachers and students rallied outside the Lismore campus on Wednesday to urge a 'no' vote to a TAFE NSW enterprise agreement ballot.

Kathy Nicholson, a NSW Teachers Federation organiser, said the ballot was a response to the NSW Government's education budget cuts, which would take $12 million away from North Coast TAFE colleges.

"Of the 800 jobs going in the TAFE system an inordinate number are identified to go from the North Coast," she said.

"In an attempt to deal with this, the TAFE Commission are in a race to the bottom. They're progressing to a ballot to introduce unqualified tutors to undercut the jobs of sacked teachers, with an obvious impact on skills development and productivity in our community."

NSW Shadow Minister for Regional Infrastructure, Mick Veitch, was also at the rally. He said the budget cuts posed a direct threat to Lismore's culture and economy.

"Thomas George needs to fight for the people of Lismore, to say enough is enough," he said.

Teachers Federation contact officer at Wollongbar TAFE, Cheryl Amor, said a 'yes' vote would significantly downgrade their service.

"We've got a state of the art facility and it's now going to have its full-time staff removed," she said. "The arts section won't be able to function next year. We're allowed to reapply for our jobs but there'll only be one full-time teacher across the creative industries sector."

Thomas George, member for Lismore, could not be contacted for comment on his government's budget cuts and their impact on the community.

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