Bendigo TAFE teachers to strike over budget cuts

TEACHERS from Bendigo TAFE will go on strike for 24 hours today to protest budget cuts that will cut courses and close central Victorian campuses.

The statewide stop-work action will involve representatives from Bendigo TAFE, with the regional training provider set to lose 100 staff by the end of the year as a result of proposed cuts to the sector.

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Mary Bluett said Bendigo TAFE and other regional institutions would be among the hardest hit.

It follows a document leaked to the media last week that showed TAFE institutes were preparing for widespread fee increases and potential mergers between schools.

The report detailed plans to close Bendigo TAFE’s Castlemaine campus and to continue to deliver VCAL and other youth-related programs through a rented space.

Ms Bluett said the fight to preserve Victoria’s TAFE system had now reached a crucial stage. “It’s the greatest threat to the TAFE system Victoria has ever seen,” she said.

“In Castlemaine part of the reason of having the campus there was meeting that need for the local community. They’re pretty devastated at the prospect of losing it.”

The AEU have called on all TAFE members across Victoria to stop work and join the political rally in Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens.

Bendigo TAFE chief executive officer Maria Simpson said she appreciated the opportunity for staff members to express their concern.

The institute is required to provide cabinet more detailed financial statements for 2014 and 2015 and further information on asset plans by September 30.

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