Three staff suspended over TAFE rort investigation

An investigation into a Daylesford family’s alleged rorting of the TAFE system has led to three staff members being suspended after allegations were raised about suspicious conduct with an unregistered third-party trainer.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) has been investigating agreements set up between Bendigo Kangan Institute and South West TAFE and private training company TayTell in order to allegedly cash in on government subsidies.

TayTell director Rebecca Taylor and the role of her Daylesford family are being investigated as part of the IBAC hearing.

Bendigo Kangan Institute suspended three of its staff - Andree Weavers and Travis Hodgson and business development manager Coralee Hayden-Long - as of last Friday.

A Kangan spokesperson said the suspensions came as evidence in the IBAC hearings suggested serious breaches of policies and procedures.

Kangan's lawyers have appointed an accounting firm to conduct an independent review.

It is alleged TayTell enrolled students fraudulently in order to cash in on $14,000 in government subsidies per student - worth more than $1.8 million in total between 2013 and 2015.

The Kangan contract involved the enrolling of Jetstar employees into a Certificate IV in engineering to be delivered by TayTell and accredited by the institute.

Likewise, the South West TAFE contract involved enrolling Zinfra staff into the same qualification.

Family members of TayTell director Rebecca Taylor were also enrolled and signed off on the qualification.

Earlier hearings were shown messages between TayTell director Rebecca Taylor and her daughter Heather, who she employed as an office manager.

The pair frequently discussed "sausages", the "sausage machine" and getting "the sausages cooked".

Counsel assisting Ian Hill QC suggested to Taylor the "sausage" references were code for the paperwork that needed to be completed to cash in on the $14,000 each pupil was worth.

It is alleged Ms Taylor was not qualified to deliver training at either of the TAFEs and in fact did not deliver the 1400 contact hours or assess the students, but simply marked them off as competent on assessment paperwork.

Kangan's spokesperson said the institute would fully cooperate with the IBAC hearings, which start again on July 17.