IT is no secret Victoria's TAFEs are cash-strapped and struggling, says Australian Education Union Bendigo Branch north team organiser Michael Claven.
"TAFE's play a critical role," he said.
"Why would we be jeopardising that function in a rural, regional area?"
Mr Claven attended the Standing Committee on Education and Employment public hearing in Bendigo on Wednesday and took the opportunity to speak to the media about Bendigo TAFE's proposed merger with a Melbourne institute.
"We think it's probably a forced merger," he said.
"The Victorian Government has brought the TAFE system in Victoria effectively to its knees with successive waves of cuts."