A PROCESS of voluntary redundancies is under way at the University of Ballarat, following $20 million in funding cuts from the Victorian government.
While the total number of job losses will not be known for at least three weeks, UB yesterday revised down the total number of courses being discontinued to 40.
Vice-chancellor David Battersby would not be interviewed by
“It is not yet clear how many voluntary redundancies will take place ... and while there may be forced redundancies, we first want to give staff the opportunity to volunteer,” he said.
“The fact is these cuts to TAFE are a serious blow, and with something like $300 million but lost, they are not small numbers.
“We have been presented with a difficult situation but together with our staff have chosen to restructure TAFE operations to make them a bit smaller but much stronger in providing for local industry needs,” he said.
Following a meeting with Higher Education Minister Peter Hall yesterday, Professor Smith said UB would open an industry skills centre to offer courses including engineering, innovative manufacturing and agriculture. He said the new courses would tap into increased amounts of designated funding for apprenticeships and would cater for areas of shortage in local industry.
NTEU branch president Dr Jeremy Smith praised Mr Hall for meeting with union representatives at the university yesterday.
“It was unexpected but we discussed the community reaction to TAFE cuts and I put it to him that while he will have seen the angry edge in the media reports around the demonstrations against the Premier, the community anger is broader and deeper,” he said.
“Mr Hall listened carefully and didn’t express any surprise when I stressed our campaign would be continuing until the cuts and were reversed.”
Dr Smith invited Mr Hall to attend a planned community forum in Ballarat on July 8.
Opposition spokesperson John Lenders said the Baillieu government’s claims the system was unsustainable was inaccurate, and that other budget priorities including protective service officers on public transport and the redesign competition for Flinders Street Station were wasting money.