TODAY'S state budget is expected to force cutbacks in the TAFE sector after a predicted $300 million drop in government support.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) warned some colleges, particularly in regional areas would be hit hard, but South West TAFE chief executive Joe Piper yesterday said the organisation would survive.
"I have full confidence in the TAFE sector to meet the needs and aspirations of all Victorians, particularly our institute in the south-west," he told The Standard.
"Above all else we must ensure that taxpayer investment in TAFE is used wisely and in the best interests of our communities."
Mr Piper and other TAFE chief executives attended a pre-budget briefing in Melbourne on Friday.
He said he would comment on specific effects later in the week after examining the budget implications in detail.
AEU Victorian branch secretary Mary Bluett said the cuts would include removal of differential funding for student learning support services and a reduction in the student contact hour rate to less than $2 for some courses.
"This government is neglecting Victoria's publicly-owned TAFEs while prioritising needs of private providers who cherry pick the low-cost and most popular courses," she said.
"The state government, having already cut $40 million in October 2011, has now decided to cut more than $300 million to TAFE at the start of 2013."
South West TAFE, which has campuses in Warrnambool, Hamilton, Portland and Glenormiston, has about 13,500 students this year and operates on a $40m budget.
It has plans for a new training centre on Raglan Parade for which it is awaiting state and federal development funding.
South-west leaders will also be studying the budget for funding to build roads and the new Horne Road industrial precinct .
The budget will be announced in Parliament from 3pm.