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Strong despite ongoing challenges, says Bendigo TAFE

Bendigo TAFE, which has a campus in Echuca, says it is aware of the challenges it faces but will strive to remain open.

ZACH HUBBER April 9, 2014 3:32am

A Bendigo TAFE senior manager said there was nothing new in yesterday’s Fairfax Media report that the TAFE was running at a loss.

A leaked assessment by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office obtained by The Age stated Bendigo TAFEwhich has a campus in Echucawas of ongoing concern.

It also stated Victorian Government contributions for the sector fell by $119 million last year and capital funding for building and equipment declined by $14 million.

Marketing, business development and infrastructure general manager John Rossi said staff across the Echuca, Bendigo and Castlemaine campuses had been kept informed of the challenges and changes facing the TAFE.

‘‘We have been very, very open with our staff in what the challenges are over the past 12 to 18 months,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s no department that’s not aware of the ongoing challenges.’’

Mr Rossi said he was pleased with how the Echuca campus was operating.

‘‘We are continually looking at partnerships and relationships in generating more income,’’ he said.

‘‘The Shire of Campaspe and Bendigo Health are two entities we’ve been working closely with to focus on ensuring the community has a local TAFE open to everyone.’’

Despite a cut in funding for building and equipment, Mr Rossi said the Echuca campus’ facilities still provided a great learning environment.

‘‘Yes, the funding has fallen. So what is our focus? Maintaining our campuses to ensure we can actually deliver our courses safely,’’ Mr Rossi said.

Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien yesterday said TAFEs performed an important role in Victorian educational life.

‘‘We are not prepared to lose our TAFEs,’’ Mr O’Brien told ABC Radio.

‘‘We want to make sure our TAFEs remain strong, vibrant and viable.

‘‘We will make sure that students in those areas (rural Victoria) will continue to receive high-quality access to TAFE services.’’

In 2012 the state government slashed $300 million to TAFE funding to help maintain a budget surplus.

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