Teachers say the Barry O’Farrell Coalition state government has divulged its plans to cut TAFE wages and conditions and then likely privatise it by splitting TAFE teachers away from the collective bargaining power of their primary and secondary teacher colleagues. Education minister Adrian Piccoli introduced changes to the TAFE commission act into the NSW parliament on October 11 without notice or consultation with the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF).
NSW education minister Adrian Piccol has announced a process of “community consultation on the reform of TAFE and the vocational education and training sector in NSW”. The NSW Liberal government plans to repeat its Victorian counterpart’s attacks on public education and further privatise vocational education. The government plans to encourage private colleges and universities to undercut TAFE providers. It will offer a publicly-funded student voucher system to achieve this.
As part of its attacks on the NSW public sector, the O’Farrell Liberal government will begin charging parents up to $40 a day for each child they send to the once-free public preschools run by the Department of Education and Community Services (DEC). The fees will be introduced next year to the 100 DEC preschools across NSW. These preschools were established to improve the educational opportunities for students in poor socio-economic areas, including communities that may be isolated, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Three hundred teachers from across NSW rallied outside NSW Parliament House in Macquarie St on June 4. They were joined by members of the Public Service Association, the Fire Brigade Employees Union, the NSW Nurses Federation and other unionists. The teachers left a session of the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF) council to protest the Liberal government’s plan to strip away conditions and limit wage rises of public sector workers. At the rally, the NSWTF councillors declared their support for other public sector workers and the unions NSW campaign against the changes.
The newly-elected Barry O’Farrell Coalition government in NSW has introduced a bill that gives it unprecedented power over pay and conditions for the state's 400,000 public servants —gutting the NSW Industrial Relations Commission’s (IRC) role.
Unions NSW has endorsed and is sponsoring the "stop the privatisation" forum organised by the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF). The NSWTF has invited speakers from a range of public sector unions, including the Public Sector Association, Nurses Association and Fire Brigade Employees Union. Speakers will show how the NSW government's privatisation agenda has damaged service delivery and caused job cuts and the erosion of wages and working conditions.
On June 5, New South Wales Teachers Federation state council voted to initiate a “Stop the Privatisation” forum to organise against the state government’s privatisation plans for the public sector. The forum will invite participation from the Public Sector Association (PSA), Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) and other public sector unions. After the forum, the federation will initiate a public sector delegates meeting to discuss and organise a public sector-wide response to the privatisation agenda.
On November 10, thousands of angry TAFE teachers attended stop-work meetings across New South Wales. They voted to reject the changes in working conditions mandated by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).
SYDNEY— In the early hours of October 9, the Latin American Community Centre (Casa Latina), in the Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville, burned to the ground. All contents were destroyed. NSW police are investigating the fire but are yet to determine a cause.
On Super Saturday August 16, hundreds of activists across NSW will staff Stop the Sell-Off stalls in 50 NSW electorates. Part of the campaign to stop the state ALP government from privatising electricity, the stalls are expected to gather thousands of signatures on petitions, and promote the mass anti-privatisation rally planned for September 20, at Sydney Town Hall.