TAFE on radar as education looms as big election issue

BETTER funding of North Coast TAFE has been prioritised this week by the Federal Opposition to ensure the institute is properly equipped to train Australians in the vocational training sector.

A stable and strong VET sector is an important part of Labor's plan to address inequality in the education sector, especially for those in regional Australia who cannot afford to go to university in cities.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the opposition spokeswoman for vocational education, Sharon Bird, have proposed a review of the vocational education system consisting a range of measures including the establishment of a

VET Ombudsman and capping tuition fees in line with how university fees are set. Through the review, Labor aims to weed out unlawful primary providers as well as guarantee students obtain their qualifications and gain employment in the workforce.

Meanwhile, around the hustings, the seat of Cowper will be contested by Greens candidate Carol Vernon at the upcoming Federal election.

Federal Member Luke Hartsuyker will again fight to retain his seat for the Nationals.

The ALP has left the electorate speculating who will run for the seat with a candidate not yet announced.

Up north in Page electorate, incumbent Nationals MP Kevin Hogan will be challenged by former Federal Labor Member for Page Janelle Saffin.

New kid on the block, 18-year-old Kudra Falla-Ricketts will stand against seasoned politicians Saffin and Hogan as the Greens candidate for Page.

The Greens are a distant third in the election race for Page after winning 6.5% of the primary vote at the last election.

It's an all-male race for the Federal seat of Lyne with Dr David Gillespie hoping to retain his seat for the Nationals against Greens candidate and former mayor of Gloucester, Julie Lyford OAM and Peter Alley for the ALP.


*The online copy of this article has been amended to correct the Greens candidate for Lyne. Julie Lynford will be contesting the seat not Ian Oxfenford as stated in the Saturday March 19 edition of the Coffs Coast Advocate.

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