MEMBER for Orange Andrew Gee says he was disappointed not to have been informed of the state government’s plan to announce widespread cuts to public and private school budgets and TAFE funding last week.
Mr Gee said he was one of several backbenchers who argued against the cuts at a party room meeting on the same day the budget cuts became public knowledge.
“I’m disappointed that so little notice was given to backbench MPs before the announcement was made,” Mr Gee said.
It’s understood the department of education will loose 600 staff from state and regional offices and 800 TAFE jobs will be lost during the next four years.
A further 400 management jobs will also go, and TAFEs will be forced to increase fees by 9.5 per cent.
Mr Gee said it was too early to determine the exact magnitude of the cuts.
“In respect to TAFE I’m concerned to see what it would look like after the cuts,” Mr Gee said.
“Since I became the local member I have seen firsthand the work that they do.”
Mr Gee said TAFE was particularly important to western NSW residents who, when compared to their city counterparts, have less opportunities for vocational training, have a greater distance to travel for vocational training and have lower incomes.
“That’s why I expressed the opinion I did,” he said.
“All western NSW MPs have to work together through what could be a turbulent period.”
Mr Gee said he was yet to determine what impact the cuts would have on his electorate however he would work with his fellow MPS to minimise the impact on the region.
Mr Gee said despite his concerns about the budget cuts, he understands that “state revenue has dried up”.
“We can’t spend what we don’t have, we don’t want to end up like Greece.”