Future of Bendigo TAFE still in spotlight

THE future of Bendigo TAFE remains in the spotlight with suggestions a merger with another TAFE is being considered.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards issued a joint media statement this week, saying a merger could impact on locals students being able to access the training they need to get the job they want.

“Denis Napthine’s TAFE cuts are forcing Bendigo TAFE to merge in order to keep its doors open,” Ms Allan said.

“This puts at risk Bendigo losing its own TAFE providing training suited to local student and employer needs.

“The only reason Bendigo TAFE are forced to consider a take-over is because it has been cut to the bone by the Napthine Government’s TAFE cuts."

Bendigo TAFE has been contacted for comment.

Earlier this week Ms Edwards said young people were in danger of being shut out of future training and jobs because of TAFE cuts.

“Bendigo students and employers deserve better than Denis Napthine and the Liberals who have sent the wrecking ball through Bendigo TAFE,” Ms Edwards said.

The comments come on the back of a leaked report from the Victorian Auditor General’s office.

The report reveals Bendigo TAFE is in serious financial trouble with half of the state's TAFEs running at a loss after savage government cuts.

Industry sources say Bendigo TAFE and Gippsland-based Advance Tafe are in particularly serious trouble.

The briefing document shows state government operating contributions for the sector plunged by $119 million, or 159 per cent, in 2013.

Capital funding for buildings and equipment fell by $14 million, or 36 per cent.

A state government spokeswoman said annual reports tabled in parliament last week showed TAFEs were at ‘‘different stages of transforming their businesses to compete and grow student enrolments’’.

‘‘The minister has not seen the draft document and is not a position to verify its contents and would not pre-suppose any findings the Auditor-General might or might not make,’’ she said.

- with The Age

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