Coffs TAFE campus next in line for Government sell-off
NORTH Coast TAFE's Glenreagh St campus is the next block of prime Coffs Harbour land set to be sold off by the State Government.
Plans are under way to consolidate the campus into the Coffs Harbour Education Campus with funding pledged for construction of a new state-of-the-art training facility.
The State Government has already committed $5million the Applied Construction and Plumbing Technologies Hub at the Hogbin Dr campus, but there are concerns the move could also result in job losses.
It comes as Skills Minister John Barilaro this week announced a raft of changes to the state's TAFE system that will see 10 institutes connected into a single entity.
The NSW Teachers Federation says the move does not guarantee recurrent funding for TAFE or certainty money from asset sales will be re-injected into the sector.
But North Coast TAFE Institute Director, Elizabeth McGregor, defended Mr Barilaro's announcement, saying staff and students in our region are well positioned to take advantage of the changes.
"It wont mean a lot of change that will be visible for the community except potentially access to more services," Ms McGregor said.
"The modernisation is ... about staying relevant for industry and communities."
Plans to consolidate the two TAFE buildings in Coffs Harbour is expected to facilitate courses currently conducted from Glenreagh St, including plumbing and cabinet making.
Ms McGregor said planning would be undertaken with Coffs Harbour Senior College and Southern Cross University over the coming 12 months.
She said it was too early to tell if it will involve direct job losses, but confirmed redundancies are expected in the wider sector.
"A number of jobs at the moment that deal with issues like double data entry and so forth (will be lost) - that's been expected," Ms McGregor said.
NSW Teacher's Federation regional organiser, Ian Watson, meanwhile called on Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser to provide certainty on local jobs and re-injection of asset sales into the sector.
He said 35 full-time teaching positions have recently been lost in the North Coast TAFE.
Mr Fraser pledged jobs would be transferred, and funds from the Glenreagh St sale returned into TAFE.
"Rather than a hotchpotch of buildings (at the Glenreagh St site) that are 40-years-old we're building a brand new hub that will provide jobs," he said.