THE head of South West Institute of TAFE says there will be some cuts to services after an “open and frank” meeting yesterday with state government department representatives.
Chief executive Joe Piper and other institute representatives met in Melbourne with the secretary of the Department of Education and the deputy secretary for higher education and skills.
Mr Piper said there was no use denying there would be some services which would be cut but he would not go into detail on which services would be affected.
Mr Piper said the board and executive team expressed their strong concern about the reduction in government subsidies, which would mean an increase in student fees.
He said there were also concerns over plans to remove the service provider payments.
“The board and executive believe the meeting was productive,” he said.
“There is a requirement to prepare a transitional plan and work with the government to ensure the needs of the south-west are identified to ensure the institute is best positioned to deliver a strong training system.
“The board understands the difficult economic conditions and will work together to ensure the best outcome.
“There is no hiding the fact some services will not be provided by the institute but we will work with the community and industry to prioritise services.”
The state opposition claimed this week that the Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall was reluctant to guarantee the future of regional Victorian TAFE.
Opposition skills education spokesman Steve Herbert warned South West TAFE’s three smaller campuses at Hamilton, Glenormiston and Portland were at risk.
But in a letter to The Standard, the state member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay said political agitation had unfairly and dishonestly created a view to the public that the State Government was withdrawing its commitment to VET and TAFE funded programs.
“This is totally false,” he said. “In fact, the Baillieu government in the Victorian budget announced on May 1 has delivered an additional $1.033 billion in funding for our VET sector over the next four years.
“While training enrolments in the skill shortages of productive and specialist skills areas such as carpentry, plumbing, civil construction, aged care and nursing went up 10 per cent, programs in fitness, sport coaching and belly dancing have gone up 2000 to 4000 per cent.
“This abuse of a system that had no sustainable fee and funding structure has led to rorting, whereby enrolled students are paid to undertake training, multiple enrolments to boost payments for training, abuse of the Recognition of Prior Learning to obtain the 100 per cent subsidy provided for assessing skills and even the offer of free gifts such as iPads for students to enrol.”