The Guardian November 20, 2002


No New Year cheer for Illawarra TAFE students

The Illawarra Institute of TAFE is in crisis. Funding for training 
workers in essential Community Services is being slashed. Workers in 
nursing, child care, welfare, youth, alcohol and drug addiction, aged care 
and a range of other health and recreation areas are affected by the cuts 
which take effect from February, 2003.

Peter de Graaff, TAFE Organiser for the NSW Teachers' Federation described 
the cuts as "deplorable at a time when all the evidence points to 
increasing demand from the community for these essential services".

Mr de Graaff referred to recent research by the Australian Council of 
Social Service (ACOSS) showing a rise in the level of poverty and the 
number of people seeking welfare assistance. Unemployment is escalating in 
the region.

A budget cut of $300,000 has been applied to Personal Community and Health 
Service training programs at the Illawarra Institute of TAFE. This will 
significantly reduce the number of spaces for new students in the New Year.

What do the cuts mean to the community?

* Training for new aged care workers in Wollongong has been axed after 12 
years of successful operation, despite an ageing population and demands 
from agencies for trained workers.

* A 50 percent reduction in the budget for new alcohol and other drug 
worker training.

* Axing of the general Community Services ( Welfare) Diploma course at 
Shellharbour College (the largest area of population growth in the region).

* Loss of night-time courses in Child Studies in Wollongong and 
Shellharbour. This is the traditional way that existing workers gain 
qualifications.

* A 50 percent reduction in places available for students seeking diploma 
qualifications in Child Studies at Shellharbour TAFE College;

* A major cut in places available for people seeking Assistant in Nursing 
qualifications, especially in Shellharbour. Student positions have been cut 
from 100 to 30 places in 2003. The NSW Nurses' Association has expressed 
"extreme concern" at the cuts for 2003.

* Axing of programs at Shellharbour which upgrade skills and qualifications 
of existing workers in the community services industry.

* An inability to respond to the rapid growth in the need for aged care 
workers on the South Coast despite sustained requests from employers.

* Loss of training opportunities in Welfare studies at Goulburn, Queanbeyan 
and Moruya. Lost places for Nursing at Cooma, Bega and Moruya.

Who Can Help?

"Families with children completing Year 10 or Year 12 in 2002 and women 
seeking a return to education and paid work should be very concerned about 
the reduction of places for courses in 2003.

"It's these groups that will be most disadvantaged as a result of the cuts 
", said Helen Backhouse, Manager of the Illawarra Forum, the peak body for 
Community Services in the Illawarra.

She urged concerned community members and workers in the sector to contact 
their local Member of Parliament and the TAFE NSW, Illawarra Institute 
Director Mr Barry Peddle to voice their opposition.

How to help

Stopping the cuts means taking action now. Phone, write, email, fax, or 
visit any of the people/agencies listed to let them know you oppose the 
cuts.

Illawarra TAFE Senior Management:

Barry Peddle, Director,
3 Rowland Ave Wollongong, Ph 4222 2904

Ray Tolhurst, Deputy of Studies, Ph 4222 2914

Rex Lobegeier, Director Education Services, Ph 4222 2904

Politicians:

David Campbell, Member for Keira,
247 Princes Hwy Corrimal
Ph 4285 1588, Fax: 42851858,
keira@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Marianne Saliba, Member for Illawarra,
60 Princes Hwy Dapto
Ph 4261 7171, Fax: 4261 8433
illawarra@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Colin Markham, Member for Wollongong,
Suite 2, 65 Kembla St Wollongong,
Ph 4226 5700, Fax 4226 9963
wollongong@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Matt Brown, Member for Kiama,
Terralong House, Terralong St Kiama
Ph 4232 1082, Fax 4232 3577
kiama@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Jennie George, Member for Throsby,
2/187 Princes Hwy Albion Park
Ph 4256 6333, Fax 4256 6882
Jennie.GeorgeMP@aph.gov.au

Michael Organ, Member for Cunningham,
83 Railway St Corrimal
Ph 4283 7300
Michael.OrganMP@aph.gov.au

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