THE future of TAFE in Bendigo was the topic of discussion in state parliament yesterday, with Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall confirming the regional training provider would stay open.
Mr Hall quashed speculation the TAFE would close due to widespread budget cuts.
“Bendigo TAFE has the support of the Victorian Coalition government and will be around for many, many years to come,” he said.
Mr Hall said the TAFE had increased its enrolments this year and would continue to grow despite losing $9 million from its budget.
“So far in 2012, there’s been over 10,000 enrolments at the institute.
“That compares with 9600 in total for 2011. The Loddon-Mallee region is the only area in Victoria where growth through the TAFE sector has outstripped growth in training delivered by the private sector, and Bendigo TAFE has been prominent in that role.”
Last week, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said there were real concerns about whether Bendigo TAFE would close due to funding cuts and campus feasibility reviews. Mr Hall described the opposition’s questions as a “campaign of misinformation and scaremongering that does nothing but denigrate the role of TAFE.”
Referring to a letter written by Bendigo TAFE CEO Maria Simpson published in the Bendigo Advertiser on October 20, Mr Hall quoted Ms Simpson, who said: “It does not help at all for people to think we are closing. We are not. We are open.”
Ms Simpson said the viability of the local campuses was being reviewed.