Lismore MP Thomas George has turned the first sod of the multi-million-dollar Murwillumbah Connected Learning Centre (CLC), which he says will ‘significantly increase and expand the number of courses available’.
‘Greater training and course options for students so they can live and learn in their local community is a step closer with the NSW Government commencing construction of the TAFE NSW Murwillumbah CLC,’ he said at the launch.
The move follows the roll out of CLCs in other rural areas including Tenterfield and Glen late last year.
But Mr George failed to mention that the CLC will replace the Murwillumbah TAFE, which is set to be sold off despite years of protests from students, teachers, Labor and the Greens.
‘Murwillumbah is a perfect example of how the NSW Government continues to invest in TAFE NSW to grow as a world-class, innovative and flexible public education provider,’ is how Mr George put it.
‘The first four CLCs to be built have demonstrated students receive more personalised learning experiences and better access to teachers both on and off-site, including the most in-demand courses linked to job outcomes.
Number of courses doubled
‘These CLCs doubled the number of courses available to their local communities, which paints a bright future for the people of Murwillumbah and the surrounding communities. ‘
‘The expanded course offerings mean less need for travel to bigger centres for local students, so students can live and learn in their local community.
‘Regional NSW is central to our modernisation of TAFE NSW. The Murwillumbah CLC will equip students with the skills, knowledge and connections to employers that are needed to support our local economy,’ he said.
No substitute for a campus
That isn’t quite how the Lismore Labor candidate, Janelle Saffin, sees it.
‘A shopfront is no substitute for a real TAFE campus, with real courses and real teachers and support staff,’ she said.
‘A sod turning by the retiring member, cannot compensate for an iron-clad guarantee to the community that TAFE in Murwillumbah will stay.
‘The Nationals candidate stays silent on the real issues that confront local communities but is not shy to be in photo ops with the retiring member,’ she said.
Ms Saffin added the TAFE campus ‘provides the jobs of the future and must remain in Murwillumbah’.
‘The Nationals’ cuts to frontline, essential services, are sucking the lifeblood out of Murwillumbah,’ Ms Saffin said.