Labor Candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, is calling for the urgent restoration of TAFE funding as 2016 census figures reveal a dramatic decline in the number of TAFE and other vocational education students in Gilmore. At the time of the last census in 2011 there were 3,134 students receiving vocational training in Gilmore, now according to the 2016 Census there are only 2,438. This represents a decline of 22 per cent, which is over double the national average decline of 10 per cent. The Ulladulla Region and Berry/Kangaroo Valley are the hardest hit with a 41 per cent decline; Moruya with a 31 per cent decline; North Nowra-Bomaderry with a 28 per cent decline, and the Kiama local government area with a 21 per cent decline.
There are now 696 less people in Gilmore studying at TAFE or at the Vocational education level in 2016 than in 2011, and 501 less in the Shoalhaven. It’s easy to now see the link between the high youth unemployment in the Shoalhaven of 25.4%, the second highest youth unemployment in Australia, and the 23 per cent decline in vocational education and training in the Shoalhaven, under the Liberal Government and their TAFE privatisation agenda. And the situation is set to deteriorate further. The Liberals cut a further $600 million from TAFE in the May budget, despite an increasing number of jobs requiring vocational skills. A Shorten Labor Government will reverse those budget cuts in full, investing an additional $637.6 million into TAFE and vocational training. Labor will guarantee at least two thirds of public vocational education funding for TAFE and expand pre-apprentice programs for young jobseekers. Labor will also invest in a $100 million Building TAFE for the Future Fund – to re-establish TAFE facilities in regional communities like Gilmore, meeting local community and industry needs. Labor cares about the future of young people in Gilmore. Clearly, Ann Sudmalis and her Liberal government does not. A fact sheet outlining Labor’s plan for skills and apprentices, is available here.