John Kaye: IPART delivers O'Farrell's whack to TAFE students

Based on the O'Farrell government's obsession with cutting spending on TAFE and subsidising low quality private providers, the independent pricing regulator has delivered a terrible blow to current and future students seeking skills training, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Dr Kaye was commenting on today's Draft IPART Report 'Pricing VET under Smart and Skilled' (http://j.mp/IPART130730) which recommends increasing charges for 84 percent of students at TAFE and private providers.

Dr Kaye said: "The O'Farrell government and IPART are treating skills like market commodities and students as players. Neither is true and both will lead to a much less capable and fair society.

"The model that IPART used to recommend fee increases to more than 80 percent of students completely ignores the impact of higher charges on people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"IPART's narrow economic ideology stopped it from considering the critical role skills and fairness play in building a strong society. If they had, they would have rejected the premise that the TAFE budget could be held at its current level, let alone reduced. 

"The O'Farrell government's new user-pays model will exclude hundreds of thousands of prospective students from training and confine them to low skill jobs.

"At the same that time industry, governments and households are complaining of skills shortages, Minister Piccoli is presiding over the destruction of TAFE and the exclusion of low income students from training.

"By trying to imitate competitive market pricing, IPART has imposed an unfair and discriminatory fee structure onto students.

"Setting student fees on the basis of the cost of delivering the training inevitably means that entry to some occupations will become the preserve of advantaged families.

"IPART has designed a recipe for a much less fair society.

"The O'Farrell government and IPART are erecting a massive barrier to entry to skills training that will be insurmountable for tens of thousands of young people and others seeking new opportunities.

"IPART swallowed Education Minister Adrian Piccoli's myth that higher fees were needed to provide more training opportunities.

"The previous Labor government cut TAFE's budget by 48 percent and pushed up fees by more than $62 million a year. The Coalition is further increasing the pressure on students and on TAFE," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

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