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Bega Poll Identifies Teacher Shortages And TAFE Sell-Offs As Major Concerns

Teacher shortages, the NSW Government’s lack of a plan to address these shortages, and the threat to sell-off local TAFE campuses are issues looming large for voters in next weekend’s State by-election in Bega, according to new polling.

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said the uComms poll gives the clearest indication yet that Bega voters are extremely unimpressed with the Government’s performance when it comes to education.

“The by-election on February 12 is an important opportunity for Bega voters to send a powerful message to the Perrottet Government. And that message is: ‘You do not deserve our vote’,” he said.

“This Government has consistently refused to act on unsustainable workloads and teacher shortages. The Department of Education’s own figures show that there were 40 vacant permanent teaching positions in the electorate of Bega last October.

“Last year, hundreds of pages of secret Departmental briefings and reports to the Government were exposed that talked about teacher shortages and the causes of the shortages. These reports predicted that by 2025, the shortages will be in the order of 2425 vacancies. And we know that when there are vacancies, they impact first and most acutely in regional, rural, and remote NSW,” he added.

Mr Gavrielatos said the poll also revealed the community’s deep concerns about the future of TAFE in the electorate.

“Unfortunately, the Government’s fire sale of TAFE campuses continues unchecked. To date, they have run rampant, flogging off all, or part of, 20 campuses across NSW, with another 17 earmarked for sale.

“We are now worried that the TAFE campus in Moruya is in their crosshairs, as well as Bega campus, which was ‘decommissioned’ last year,” he said.

Market research company uComms conducted a survey of 618 residents in the State Electorate of Bega on behalf of NSW Teachers Federation between 26-31 January 2022. The results show:

• 85.7% of people surveyed said they considered the future funding of local public schools and TAFE to be important/very important.

• Almost 86% of people maintained it was important/very important that there was a

comprehensive plan to address the teacher shortage and its causes.

• 84% of those polled said they were somewhat/very concerned about TAFE campuses being sold off, including Bega campus.

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos met with teacher representatives in Bega on Monday 7 February at Littleton Gardens, Zingel Place delivering the message that

teachers and parents should send the Perrottet Government a strong message about its poor performance in education.