NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has kicked off the final week of campaigning by talking up Labor’s $100 million plan to “rescue” the state’s TAFE system.
He spent Monday morning in Loftus, in the southern Sydney seat of Heathcote, where he said the “most obscene” TAFE course fee increase under the coalition government was an air-conditioning diploma that went from $104 to $7280.
“At a time of double-digit youth unemployment, we should be investing in vocational education, not cutting it,” Mr Foley said.
“When there’s a quarter of a million people unemployed in this state, the Liberals’ assault on our TAFE system is a crime against our young people.”
Labor has promised to reverse fee hikes, give TAFE a guaranteed minimum 70 per cent share of the state’s vocational funding, and launch a review of the state’s education and training options for young people past Year 10.
Mr Foley appeared alongside design student Bree Armson-Graham, who said uncertainty about fees had left her considering dropping out.
Reshuffles to her course structure also meant she had been forced to skip certain classes and she was now falling behind, she said.
“It’s really hard when I have to go home and watch something on YouTube to teach myself when I really should have learned it in class,” she said.
“And I still don’t know what I’m going to be paying.”
Mr Foley did not appear disheartened by the most recent opinion polls, which predict a win for Baird government candidates in three key seats – The Entrance, Campbelltown and Coogee.
He promised to campaign relentlessly until Saturday.
“There’s five million people yet to cast their vote. I’ll be talking to the people of this state this week,” he said.
The opposition leader’s next stop is Rockdale, where he’s expected to hit the streets and mingle with locals.