FEDERATION University has experienced an operating surplus drop of $55 million in the past year.
The decline prompted Ballarat East MP Geoff Howard to lay blame on the Coalition government’s changes to TAFE sector funding in 2012.
But the Coalition government says the university’s operating surplus drop is justifiable.
Mr Howard yesterday expressed his concern over the drop in the university’s operational spending for 2013, as outlined in the Federation University Australia (Ballarat) Annual Report 2013.
The report revealed:
• The university’s operating surplus dropped by $55 million in 2013.
• Total TAFE student contact hours decreased by 26 per cent.
• A 6 per cent decrease in VET teaching staff between 2012 and 2013.
Mr Howard said the state opposition would return the community obligation service funding to the sector, if it won the November election.
The annual report also justified the operating surplus drop, stating there was a major variation in figures due to the capital and one off project funding received in 2012 totalling $40 million.
Higher Education Minister Nick Wakeling spokeswoman Miranda Oakes said the university’s acquisition of the Monash Churchill Campus factored into the surplus change.
“Federation University’s overall reported surplus did drop in 2013,” she said. “But the institute is still in a strong financial position.”
University vice-chancellor Professor David Battersby said in the last year the university had completed its largest capital development program and that accounted for the drop in surplus.
He said the university still maintained a strong balance sheet.