SOUTH West TAFE is incredibly important to the local region and the education provider should now have more confidence in getting on with the job, according to the Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall.
Mr Hall flew in to Warrnambool yesterday morning as part of a whirlwind visit to TAFEs around the state, with TAFE CEO Peter Heilbuth reassuring the community that it was business as usual at the Glenormiston campus.
Mr Heilbuth said he was largely happy with the announcement made on Tuesday which would see an additional $200 million to TAFEs over four years.
“Largely we’re pretty happy with where this is going. There is some work to be done by us,” he said.
Mr Heilbuth said the education provider was working on its submissions for the funding which it had until September to complete.
He said it was too early to say definitively what the submission would include.
“By and large we think this is a good positive step. It shows the government has listened carefully to the needs of regional institutes such as ourselves and around the fact we feel regional TAFEs are incredibly important to their communities.
“We’re very pleased to note that there would be no forced amalgamations.”
Mr Heilbuth said as far as the Glenormiston campus was concerned it was ‘business as usual’ and before any decision was made there would be consultation with the community.
“What our board has said quite clearly is we need to look at our infrastructure across the region and obviously Glenormiston is one of those campuses which people have been speculating about,” he said.
“But I can assure there has been no decision about Glenormiston in terms of are we going to build it up or try to withdraw from there. There hasn’t been anything like that.
“It hasn’t been looked at and the reality is that we’ve been effectively waiting for this announcement to know where we are. “I think it is something we will need to review this year but we won’t be doing it in isolation. We’ll be doing it in consultation with the community. It’s absolutely business as usual.”
Mr Hall’s visit came after he and Premier Denis Napthine announced on Tuesday the government’s response to recommendations from an expert independent TAFE reform panel.
Mr Hall said the reaction had so far been pretty positive.