Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has outlined an ambitious plan for the next term of the returning NSW Government. This plan supports the work of the state’s adult and community education providers and will ensure that the state’s education and training system achieves its full potential, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners, as well as assisting small business.
“CCA congratulates the NSW Government on its re-election to government, and looks forward to working with it to ensure that the state moves ahead efficiently and proudly to create true excellence in the delivery of vocational education and training. CCA requests that the NSW Government recognise, support and enable the state’s community college sector as an important contributor to this goal,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges Australia.
“With 11% of the state’s VET students – representing more than 146,000 learners – community education providers delivered to more than half of what TAFE – with 21% of students – did in 2017,” said Dr Perlgut.
The most important elements of CCA’s plan are to:
- Re-establish an official NSW State Government structure like the previous Board of Adult and Community Education, that will lead, promote and co-ordinate the state’s community education funding;
- Increase the Community Service Obligation (CSO) program by 50% to $33 million/year, expanding its scope and reach, as well as instituting three year contracts;
- Ensure community providers have the support to do their essential work, through yearly operations and maintenance allocations, and proper assistance for professional development and sector support;
- Support our members to participate in regional economic development
“Without three year CSO contracts, the State Government builds in tremendous inefficiencies, preventing community providers from planning their activities properly. Previous support by the NSW Government has enabled the state’s community education sector to over-perform with respect to serving regional and rural residents, Indigenous people, people with a disability, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and older, aged 45-plus, learners,” said Dr Perlgut.
“CCA’s comparative research shows that well-targeted NSW Government support for the state’s community sector has meant that NSW community providers are already the most efficient in Australia in terms of reaching equity groups. This is a great platform to build on, and we look forward to working with the next minister to grow this capability and capacity,” said Dr Perlgut.
“CCA calls on all political parties in the next NSW Parliament to assist our sector,” said Dr Perlgut.
In a letter to CCA prior to the state election, Deputy Premier John Barilaro wrote the following to CCA:
He was “keen to see the growth [of CSO] continue,” from $21.3 million in 2018/19. In terms of operations funding: “On top of the $2.3 million to help ACE providers meet the cost of infrastructure maintenance already committed, I can confirm the ACE sector will be eligible to apply for the next round of Stronger Country Community funds.”
In terms of sector recognition, the Deputy Premier wrote, “I am supportive of exploring avenues to recognise and strengthen our valued ACE providers. As you state, this could be through consultation with the Commonwealth Government and other states and territories, or through the establishment of a statutory authority on how best to meet the needs of NSW individuals, regions, industry and the economy through ACE providers. I have asked my office to begin exploring the possibilities around this and look forward to continuing to engage with you following our election campaign."