State Budget 2018 - Stop the TAFE Campus Closures

19 September 2018

The Public Service Association (PSA) strongly opposes the Government’s decision to close TAFE SA Campuses as announced in the State Budget.

Members are concerned about the impact of these closures on their students and local communities. This includes the impact this will have on learning opportunities for students, particularly where it is a considerable distance to travel for those courses. Another issue raised is the ability for speciality courses to be facilitated when their specific requirements cannot be easily replicated.

The PSA will be campaigning to reverse this budget decision and encourages members to contact the PSA as soon as possible to confidentially discuss your concerns and those of your students and communities. This will help guide the PSA in the planning of this campaign, to ensure members’ voices are heard and that all members can play a part in advocating for a well resourced and accessible TAFE SA.

Meeting with TAFE SA

On 17 September the PSA and Worksite Representatives, met with the TAFE SA Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development. This preliminary meeting was to gain some understanding and clarification of the proposed processes ahead for salaried staff at TAFE SA.

Key points advised by TAFE SA were:

  • TAFE SA advise that the campuses selected for closure was a decision by the State Government. TAFE SA is working through data, course information and other information to understand these details further.
  • No detail is available yet in terms of impacts on courses, though TAFE SA advise that some courses can be relocated easily.
  • A Central Project Team will be set up to do the above work. TAFE SA advise that the PSA and members will be fully consulted when further information is known.
  • The PSA asked about the implications for services such as libraries or those shared services such as Urrbrae – TAFE SA advise that no decisions have been made at this time.
  • There is no intention broadly to reduce positions as part of the closure/relocation processes – it is more about the financial savings by closing campuses.
  • The PSA queried the timelines associated with the further consideration of four of the recommendations from the Moran/Bannikoff Review – these are not known at this point.
  • The PSA raised the planned reduction of 173.5 FTE in this financial year as per the Budget Papers – TAFE SA advised that they have no breakdown regarding how many of these will be salaried staff, and also advised that these will depend on other Reviews/Restructures and also natural attrition. TAFE SA advised the PSA however that any reductions would occur in line with the processes contained within the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017, including thorough workload assessments looking at impacts on individuals/teams if reductions occur.
  • TAFE SA also advised that in relation to any reductions, workloads and organisational impact must be assessed first as TAFE SA has lost many skilled staff over recent years and they have reached a critical point in terms of the work that is still needed to be done. TAFE SA advise they are also going to focus on process and other efficiencies rather than cutting of staff.
  • In terms of the 3 Reviews/Realignments on hold until the completion of the External Reviews (FAPS, Library/Information Services and Improving Practices Project), TAFE SA advise that they are now reviewing those proposals in light of the recommendations from the Nous and Moran/Bannikoff Reviews, and the “A Fresh Start for TAFE SA” document from the Government. TAFE SA anticipate being in a position to advise further within the next two to four weeks.
  • TAFE SA assured the PSA that until further Reviews/Restructures occur in consultation with the PSA and members, there will be no further reductions in positions. The PSA encourages members to contact the PSA immediately if they hear of any reductions occurring.
  • In terms of the TVSPs announced by Government as part of the State Budget, TAFE SA advised that they will need to be clear on workload impacts and status of Reviews/Restructures before they can provide any further information.

The PSA will be visiting the affected metropolitan campuses over the next week to meet with members and discuss their concerns. Contact will also be made with members at affected country campuses. The PSA will also connect with all sites when further information is received regarding the future of TAFE SA, and how this will affect members and the community.