Labor is throwing all of its eggs in the education basket, making two major schooling commitments ahead of next month’s state election.
The opposition has promised a Labor Government would provide $5000 to every school Parents and Citizen’s (P&C) Association in the state and committed to making TAFE free for more than 600,000 certificate level places in skill shortage courses over the next decade.
The skill shortage courses will start with child care, disability care, aged care, construction, plumbing, and electrical trades – industries Labor says are “crying out for more workers”.
The P&C bonus will affect 31 public schools in the Cessnock electorate and will go towards additional resources for children such as library books, playground equipment, sports uniforms and teaching aids.
Labor pointed to recently released independent research that shows NSW parents, particularly in regional and rural areas, pay more for a public school education than anywhere else in the country.
“P&C's across the Cessnock electorate give so much of their time to raise funds,” Cessnock Labor MP Clayton Barr said.
“The very least the government can do is give them a helping hand.”
The party said the P&C policy was fully funded and had been costed by the Independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) at $11 million per year.
Country Labor candidate for Upper Hunter and Deputy Mayor of Cessnock Melanie Dagg said the TAFE program would “change lives across the Hunter and all regional NSW”.
“Free TAFE is the ultimate jobs plan,” she said. “Country Labor will deliver the skilled workforce of the future and revitalise the vocational education system.”
NSW Shadow Minister for TAFE and Skills Prue Car said abolishing fees for courses in areas where there is a skill shortage was a “common-sense way to connect eager workers with good jobs”.
NSW voters will go to the polls on Saturday, March 23.