Blogs (Media Centre)




A Nabiac farmer has cited that it’s never too late to learn as he gains new skills to rebuild critical infrastructure on his property after the devastation of bushfires in October 2019.

The NSW Government announced in March that communities in bushfire-affected areas now have access to fee-free training courses to support the clean-up and recovery operation following the recent bushfires across NSW.

Neil Dawes is doing everything in his power to prevent the extent of damage from ever happening again. He is completing a Statement of Attainment in Welding at TAFE NSW Taree so that he has the hands-on skills he needs to rebuild fences.

“Our fences were made of timber, so they didn’t stand a chance. They burnt to the ground during the bushfire along with some of our machinery. That’s why I want to rebuild the fences in steel.”

“Our property was still smouldering by the time we got there a week after the fire ripped through.”

“I have only very basic welding skills and it is great to be able to upskill at no cost. It’s one less thing to worry about with all of the clean-up still going on.”

“The assistance that the NSW Government is offering is absolutely critical to the community and makes rebuilding our lives much easier.”

The range of fee-free courses available at TAFE NSW Taree include chainsaw operation, construction white card, farm small engine maintenance, agricultural chemicals and farm fencing.

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Susie George said TAFE NSW was proud to play a role in helping bushfire-affected communities recover.

“We recognise the enormity of the task in rebuilding these communities and we have worked to ensure that these courses equip community members with the skills they need to rebuild and repair their homes and properties.

“We have collaborated with local people, businesses and industry to ensure that we provide access to the courses and funding they need to build strong and vibrant communities,” Ms George said.

To find out more about studying a fee-free course at TAFE NSW Taree, phone 13 16 01 or visit

Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Media Officer, 0403 513 963,