Teacher’s federation disappointed with ATC announcement

MR Wayne Webber, Regional Organiser, NSW Teachers Federation was extremely disappointed with last week’s announcement by the Labor party regarding management of the Port Macquarie Australian Technical College (ATC)

“The announcement from Julia Gillard that gifts the College to the Catholic Diocese of Lismore locks out the 72% of local students attending public schools as well as the students attending other private schools, from the facilities of the Port Macquarie ATC” he said.

“No reasonable observer would believe that the Catholic Educational Authorities will allow equal access for students from non-Catholic schools to the publicly funded facilities of the ATC. As a facility built with public funds, the ATC should have an ethos of social inclusion. Placing this facility under the control of a Church or any other private institution can only be described as social and educational exclusion for the majority of local school students.

“For Australia to genuinely tackle the skills shortage, training facilities need to be available to young people from all walks of life, not restricted by religious affiliations or socio economic status, “ Mr Webber said.

Prior to the Federal election, Mr Rudd’s Labor Party promised Australians ‘Fresh Thinking’. The decision to gift the ATC to the Catholic Church belies this promise; it’s just more of the same from the Howard/Vaile era. No genuine consultation has occurred with the public education community, the Rudd Government continues to starve public schools and TAFE Colleges of the funds needed to ensure the future of our nation.

If the Rudd Government is truly committed to providing education and training that meets the needs of students and their communities, it must provide the facilities to meet those needs through an expansion of the provision of public education and training, not simply give away public assets to the private sector.”

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