Jo Haylen, the Member for Summer Hill, condemned the planned closure of West Street campus of Petersham TAFE and called on the campus to remain a public education facility.
The campus is reportedly due to close by the end of the year, with existing courses and staff moved to nearby campuses in Crystal Street, Enmore and Ultimo.
The campus did not appear on a leaked list of assets due to be divested last year and comes after a reported loss of 20% of Sydney TAFE’s student body following deep cuts to funding and fee increases under the Baird Government.
West Street TAFE was once a girls’ high school and Ms Haylen and the Teacher’s Federation are calling for the campus to remain in public hands.
Ms Haylen notes the Government is yet to release any information about its education and health plans in relation to the Parramatta Road and Sydenham to Bankstown corridors, which will see thousands of additional dwellings in the area.
The adjoining public school is reportedly at capacity and pressure on other local schools is increasing rapidly.
Staff have reportedly been consulted about the closure and courses will end at West St after Semester 2, 2016.
The campus currently houses languages, outreach, child studies, communication and radio classes, as well as services including security and a student library.
Quotes attributable to the Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill:
“Baird is to blame for the loss of West Street campus.
“We need to keep TAFE in the Inner West because we want everyone in our community to have access to quality education, close to home.
“If the Government refuses to maintain West St as a TAFE campus, they should categorically keep the property in public hands.
“Local schools and services are at crunch point and the very least the Government can do is can give the community some assurance that their kids will have somewhere to learn.
“This is a devastating result for the Inner West but I’m calling on the Government to save the campus for education – ideally to keep it as a TAFE campus, but otherwise as a school.
“The last thing we need is for the campus to be sold off to developers.”
Quotes attributable to Prue Car, Shadow Minister for Skills
“The systematic dismantling of TAFE under this Premier has led to casualties across the State and I’m disappointed Petersham is now one of them.
“The Baird Government has slashed funding and hiked fees under their Smart and Skilled agenda, all with the view of shrinking TAFE.
“We’ll continue to see TAFE campuses under the hammer so long as the Liberals are in Government.”
Quotes attributable to Rob Long, Organiser for the Teachers’ Federation
“If the Government won’t keep this campus as a TAFE, it should be reverted to its original purpose a as school.
“I’m glad staff have been told their jobs are safe, but I’d like to see those positions guaranteed so they aren’t cut in the inevitable next restructure.
“This is happening all over the State, but I don’t think anyone would see campuses hit like this in the highly populated inner city.
“The speed and severity of this really speaks to how deep Baird’s cuts to TAFE go.”