Leaked document reveals broke TAFEs

A confidential document has revealed Victorian TAFEs are struggling to survive in the wake of massive funding cuts, with concerns also raised for TAFEs in New South Wales.  

The assessment made by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office reveals seven out of 14 Victorian TAFEs are in deficit.

A presentation made by the Auditor-General’s office outlining the education sector’s woes was leaked to various media outlets, including SmartCompany.

It reveals grant revenue to TAFEs has decreased by 40% to $26 million from the Commonwealth operating contributions and 37% from Commonwealth capital contributions.

State operating contributions have decreased by $119 million or 159% and there has also been decreased state capital funding of 36%.

Expenditure remains stagnant and so the sector reported a loss of $12 million. 

Steve Herbert, the Victorian shadow minister for higher education and skills, told SmartCompany half the TAFEs in Victoria are “broke”.

“It confirms everybody’s worst fears that the continuing crisis in TAFE is having a real impact on their ability to serve their communities,” he says.

“Half the TAFEs are broke and these cuts come on top of two years of funding cutbacks, we are starting to have a situation where TAFE’s very viability is threatened.” 

Herbert says TAFEs are having to deal with these funding cuts by reducing staff, cutting courses and in many cases cutting the number of hours training students get.

“That is not a recipe for the quality training that we need in this country,” he says.

There is similar concern over TAFEs in NSW as in 2015 a new system of TAFE funding is being introduced which will adopt the Victorian model.

The Greens claim the NSW Coalition government intends to cut $1.7 billion from the TAFE budget, and slash 800 jobs while raising student fees by 9.5%.

“A similar exercise in Victoria saw the public provider go into a chaotic free-fall, with institutes on the verge of bankruptcy and student numbers plummeting,” Greens NSW MP John Kaye said in a statement.

“NSW has been set on a course that will inevitably follow the collapse in market share that TAFE has experienced in Victoria.”

A spokesperson for the Victorian Auditor-General’s office told SmartCompany the leaked document was a private and confidential presentation to TAFE providers and the office was unable to comment as the document summarised the TAFEs yearly financial audit which is yet to be tabled in State Parliament.

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