TAFE cuts a serious concern

LISMORE City council approved a motion to write to the NSW State Minister of Education, Adrian Piccoli, to express "our strong objections in relation to the proposed cuts to jobs and courses in TAFE and school Education in NSW".

State Government confirmed last month that most TAFE fees will rise by about 10 per cent next year with concession fees almost doubling to $100.

Advanced diplomas will rise $150 to $1720 a year, while fees for certificate III courses -the standard apprenticeship qualification- will rise to $793.

TAFE fine arts courses, including visual arts and ceramics, will be charged at commercial rates.

Organisations that help small companies take on apprentices will lose their funding.

The state government blamed the cuts on reduced GST revenue.

The letter from Council will raise Council's "deepest concern for the impact such changes will have upon Lismore and Regional NSW".

The motion was presented by Cr Glenys Ritchie and approved by all councillors except Cr Graham Meineke.

"The average planned increase of 9.5% in TAFE fees will make some courses less accessible and affordable" Cr Ritchie said.

"The cuts in independent school funding will have the effect of a $100,000 reduction in the first year at one local independent school".

Cr Ritchie explained that 1800 jobs and up to 8000 apprenticeships would be lost.

"This would make it hard for our regional young people to gain apprenticeships", she said.

Cr Neil Marks said that at Council "nobody wants to see anyone lose their jobs, but funding needs to be found or cuts need to be made, because NSW does not have any money".

Cr Simon Clough responded to Cr Marks.

"I did hear the Premier say that the reduction of the Education budget was due to the necessity for more freeways in Sydney in order to get children to school".

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