FURTHER proof of the true extent of cuts to TAFE funding has been revealed, with the University of Ballarat axing up to 30 courses for this year.
The course reductions come on the back of UB having predicted a $20 million shortfall after the Victorian government restructured TAFE funding models.
UB says the axed programs will come from the business, hospitality, horticulture and racing sectors.
About 130 TAFE programs will be offered by UB this year, compared to between 150 and 160 last year.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight said the program losses were bad for Ballarat.
“It just isn’t possible to cut $20 million from TAFE at the University of Ballarat and there not be reduced training opportunities for local people,” she said.
“People in Ballarat deserve the opportunity to obtain the skills needed to get a secure job so they can provide a future for themselves and their families.
“Rather than cut hundreds of millions of dollars like the Baillieu Government, funding TAFE will be Labor’s first budget priority, with additional funding coming from savings obtained from the crack-
down on unscrupulous providers.”
In June, Premier Ted Baillieu defended the cuts during a visit to Ballarat, saying something needed to change.
“What we have seen in vocation training in Victoria was a massive blowout without an effective response in terms of generating training for jobs,” he said.
“We find ourselves now with that unsustainable budget position that we had to address, a downturn in revenues which has exceeded $8 billion, and Victorians are increasingly coming to understand there is a challenge.”
UB deputy vice-chancellor Todd Walker said that despite the program cuts, UB would continue to provide education across a wide range of disciplines.
“The university has restructured its TAFE programs this year to address the changing training needs of our region,” he said.
“We are proud this year to offer more than 130 TAFE programs covering numerous occupations throughout Ballarat and Western Victoria.”
Professor Walker said TAFE training would be boosted by the opening of the new Industry Skills Centre at the SMB Campus, which will focus on employer-based training.