TAFE’s final cut

AFTER enduring a tumultuous year in which more than 50 staff were made redundant, $2.7 million cut from the budget and about 30 courses cut, South West Institute of TAFE leaders are putting on a brave face for the future.

A further $7 million will be cut from state funding next year and the Baillieu government is yet to respond to a three-year transition plan it demanded in September.

“It will be business as usual,” interim chief executive Maurice Molan told The Standard this week after confirming that 12 staff had been made redundant last week in the final round of cuts. “Although we will be running on a deficit budget we believe we are in a good financial position and will be running courses across all departments.”

The Warrnambool-based institute which also has campuses at Hamilton, Portland and Glenormiston has had almost $10m in cuts under a statewide restructure which puts TAFEs on the same footing as private training providers. Student fees will be higher and many entry-level courses with lower enrolments have been dropped.

“The community needs to understand we now must run on parity funding with private-registered training organisations and have to be more aggressive in deciding which programs will run.

“Our transition plan required by the government is still in the hands of an expert panel which is due to make recommendations to the government in December and then the government will respond early next year.”

Mr Molan said half of the latest redundancies were from the business studies department which bore the brunt of cuts in May. However, they were given better news this week with the announcement that eight new positions had been created in administration and support services.

“All the redundant staff will be eligible to apply for vacancies,” Mr Molan said.

South West TAFE achieved a record 2.7 million student contact hours this year with a total of 11,212 students and 380 effective full-time staff.

Next year’s student intake with the new fees structure will become obvious by February-March when new chief executive Peter Heilbuth is at the helm. 

Mr Molan said there was quiet confidence student intake would remain strong, particularly in the arts department which is being moved from Deakin University’s Sherwood Park campus into the former TAFE library off Kepler Street.

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