Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill, has demanded the Baird Government scrap plans to sell or lease land at TAFE campuses across the state, condemning the move as another example of selling public assets for short-term gain.
“This Government is committed to flogging off public land and assets for a short-sighted return,” said Ms Haylen.
“From Millers Point, to selling our electricity assets, through to its aggressive privatization agenda, the Baird Government hasn’t seen a public asset or service it wouldn’t like to sell,” said Ms Haylen.
“Now they’ve turned their eyes to TAFE campuses – including the Sydney TAFE Design Centre at Enmore – and want to turn an easy buck, whatever the cost to our young people’s future,” Ms Haylen said.
A leaked cabinet document shows a plan to divest $63 million worth of TAFE NSW assets, including what they’ve termed “excess land” at Sydney TAFE Design Centre Enmore, most likely the carpark and popular community dog park.
The car park is used by students, local residents and patrons at the Enmore Theatre, as well as customers of the many restaurants, cafes and businesses in Enmore, many of which will already be under pressure from Westconnex and the likely removal of parking along Edgeware Rd.
The dog park is a joint initiative of TAFE NSW and Marrickville Council and has been popular with the community for over 20 years, attracting students, families and dog owners. It is one of the only enclosed dog parks in the area.
“These are important community resources and must be retained for use by the community,” said Ms Haylen.
The plan follows $1.7 billion being cut from education and training since 2011, 1100 sackings of TAFE teachers and support staff, cuts to courses and increased fees for TAFE students.
“Enmore TAFE is a beautiful and vibrant campus and shouldn’t be cannabalised to make up the shortfall from Baird’s cuts,” said Ms Haylen.
“You can’t rip over a billion dollars from education and training and then claim to need cash to keep the system afloat,” said Ms Haylen.
“We need to consistently invest in our young people and make sure they have the skills and training they need to participate meaningfully in our economy,” said Ms Haylen.
“Selling and leasing campuses is not the way to build long-term capacity for TAFE, but that’s not what this is about.”
“The Liberals don’t believe in TAFE; they never have and they never will.”