The Federal Government has warned against the ‘savage’ cuts announced in Victoria’s State Budget. Federal Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, convened an emergency meeting with the state’s TAFE directors to discuss the cuts.


Senator Evans told the meeting at William Angliss Institute in Melbourne that the Federal Government had serious concerns that the cuts would eat away at the training effort by jeopardising the viability of TAFE courses and campuses.


"TAFE directors have confirmed today that the Victorian Government's budget cuts will see $300 million ripped out of the TAFE system in Victoria - that decision means campuses will close, they will be unable to operate a whole range of critical courses and a number of jobs will be cut," Senator Evans said.


"TAFEs are a quality training provider and play an important role, particularly in regional, rural and suburban Victoria, with 263,000 student enrolments across the State last year alone.


"We have a skills shortage in Australia - we need to be providing training to more Victorians so they have the opportunity to access the high-skilled jobs of the future, and making severe cuts to the TAFE sector, the biggest training provider in the State, undermines that effort.


Senator Evans wrote to his Victorian counterpart, Peter Hall, asking him to explain how the cuts will effect the state’s COAG obligations. Under the COAG agreement reached with the States in April, the Commonwealth has offered Victoria $435 million to support reforms to the VET system to improve quality and transparency.