The Tasmanian Liberal Party has shown it cannot be trusted with Tasmania’s TAFE.
Since coming to government in 2014, TasTAFE enrolment numbers have dropped by 35 per cent, down to 21,189.
TasTAFE teacher numbers have also been cut, dropping by 54 to 838.
The Liberals’ have now formed a radical plan to privatise TasTAFE by turning it into a Government Business Enterprise – an idea formed following a single submission to the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Council.
That single submission called for a “Jetstar model” for TasTAFE and came from a lobby group founded by the Council’s chairperson himself.
After announcing the State Government’s plan to privatise TasTAFE, Peter Gutwein audaciously claimed the Liberal Party would employee 100 new TasTAFE teachers.
The problem with that promise is, the Liberal Party’s own policy prevents them from keeping it.
By turning TasTAFE into a GBE, a Liberal Government would forfeit its control over the public education provider and hands control to the private employer.
As Premier, Peter Gutwein cannot march into Hydro Tasmania and demand the CEO hire 100 new workers, and he wouldn’t be able to do it if he privatises TasTAFE.
In contrast, the Tasmanian Labor Party’s TAFE election policy promises to provide free TAFE courses across the building and construction, hospitality, aged care and disability services sectors.
Labor has vowed to stand against the Liberals’ privatisation plan for TasTAFE, ensuring it remains a public entity.
Labor’s Free TAFE policy – expected to cost $40m across four years – is expected to provide 5000 students yearly with the qualifications they need to find jobs.
As is central to Labor’s TAFE policy, students are the focus of public education, not profits.
The Greens are also strong supporters of TasTAFE, with a policy that commits to free TAFE for Tasmanian students.