THE message outside North Coast TAFE Port Macquarie campus on Monday morning was simple - "no ifs, no buts, just stop TAFE cuts".
A vocal group of about 50 protesters held a rally demanding the Federal Coalition and Labor Party recognised their contestable funding policies were destroying TAFE and preventing students from accessing affordable educational opportunities.
One of those students was Lauren Stewart who is currently doing a course in aged care and wants to pursue a career in nursing, but the 21-year-old admitted further fees would have a detrimental impact.
It would possibly even put an early end to a prospective career.
"I'm doing a Certificate 3 at the moment, but to do a Certificate 4 I'll have to pay for it," she said.
"I just won't be able to afford it."
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens NSW MP John Kaye visited campuses across the Mid-North Coast to speak to staff, students and community about the effects of TAFE privatisation.
Dr Kaye said the future for TAFE education looked dire if the current climate stayed the same.
"Enough is enough and we need to turn the market off because enough people have been pushed into inappropriate online learning," he said.
"There's an increase in fees, but fewer courses and that means a total disaster for regional areas like Port Macquarie.
"With these cuts, teachers are losing jobs and students are losing courses. Two thousand three hundred TAFE teachers have been lost since the new government took over so it's time to say enough is enough."
Rally organiser Kathy Nicholson said "this government is stealing our commonwealth from beneath our noses."
"We need to ask the Nationals why won't they step up and look after country areas like Port Macquarie."