THE state government denies it is coercing South West TAFE to merge with Geelong, in an angry response to accusations made by the state opposition this week.
Labor’s higher education and skills spokesman Steve Herbert told The Standard on Wednesday the government was laying the foundations for TAFE boards to merge by reducing funding and appointing TAFE board members.
He said Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall would influence South West TAFE to merge with Geelong’s Gordon Institute of TAFE.
But Mr Hall slammed the suggestion and said the government had recently ruled out any such mergers.
“This is a wild conspiracy theory from Labor,” a department spokesman said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is supporting regional TAFEs through its $200 million funding announcement to help TAFEs thrive in their local communities.”
He said the Labor policy to fund TAFEs through the government surplus would make life uncertain for regional TAFE chiefs.
South West TAFE CEO Peter Heilbuth has previously told The Standard the board has no plans to pursue a merger.