Wodonga TAFE 'not delayed with funding' 

Wodonga TAFE’s chief executive has dismissed claims made by a visiting state opposition spokesman that there has been a delay in government funding for the institution.

Labor’s spokesman for higher education and skills Steve Herbert said $50 million allocated to Victorian TAFEs as part of a $200 million four-year structural adjustment fund hadn’t been delivered in time for term one as promised.

The fund was announced last year to help regional TAFEs become more efficient after an estimated $290 million was cut from the sector.

At Wodonga TAFE yesterday, Mr Herbert said part of the problem was because the auditor was given the tender nine weeks behind schedule.

He said the campus’ disadvantaged students would suffer along with its potential to offer new courses and facilities.

“That fund, under their own documentation, was due to start this year,” Mr Ryan said.

“Students are about to start TAFE right around the state and that funding hasn’t been announced and now won’t be available until probably mid-semester or next year.

“It’s a disgrace, the government needs to meet their original timetable.”

However, Wodonga TAFE chief executive Michael O’Loughlin, who met with the shadow minister, said the funding was broadly on track.

“We’re quite satisfied with the timetable indicated by the government,” he said.

“It’s quite complicated and, in my view, it’s better to get it right rather than to rush.”

Mr Herbert also called for certainty around merges of TAFEs, including speculation of one between Wodonga TAFE and Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE.

Mr Herbert, who also visited La Trobe University and Wodonga’s training centre and community college, said he was surprised the TAFE didn’t offer a building certificate IV with the growth of the city and called for the government to offer subsidies.

If elected later in the year, he said his party would offer stability and resources to TAFEs and restore community service funding to eliminate the need for mergers.

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