Heathcote MP Lee Evans has dismissed a challenge for him to debate TAFE changes at a community forum as “a political stunt”.
State Opposition spokeswoman on Skills, Prue Car, wrote to Mr Evans inviting him to debate her at the function to be held at Tradies Club Gymea on Thursday, September 29, starting at 6pm.
Ms Car said the community had a right to hear from their local member about the changes made to TAFE by the Baird government.
Based on 2011 Census data, the electorate of Heathcote had the highest proportion of residents with a trade qualification in Sydney, she said.
“Courses are being cut and fees are going through the roof and people can’t even enrol,” she said.
“I will be holding the Baird government to account on their cuts to vocational education and giving an opportunity for community members to ask any questions they have about the future of TAFE.”
Mr Evans said the challenge was “nothing more than a political stunt”.
“If Prue Car is genuinely concerned about TAFE in Heathcote she would be holding this meeting in Heathcote, not outside my electorate at a trade union club,” he said.
Mr Evans said, with a rapidly changing economy and technological advancements, TAFE must adapt to meet the needs of students, teaching staff and employers.
“That is why the NSW Government is modernising TAFE facilities and course delivery to provide more choice, better access and convenient training to get students into jobs,” he said.
Mr Evans said this year there has been a significant increase in enrolments.
Apprenticeship and traineeship approvals had increased by almost 5600 on the same time last year and not a single fee increased in 2016 across all qualifications, while fees for a range of foundation skills were halved.