TAFE takings down

The financial takings of Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE took a significant hit in 2012, with its surplus down 45 per cent on the previous year, an audit of the sector has shown.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s audit of TAFE institutes across the state, released last week, has found 10 of the 14 standalone TAFE institutes were at “medium” financial risk last year.

Outlining an overall downturn across the sector, TAFEs recorded a collective surplus of $58.5 million in 2012, down 39.1 per cent on 2011 figures, while 10 of the 14 institutes were assessed at ‘medium’ financial risk in 2012.

While GippsTAFE’s surplus dropped from $10,803,000 in 2011 to $5,939,000 last year, its two-year financial sustainability risk assessment, according to the report, was ‘low’ over the period.

Shadow Skills and Apprenticeship Minister Steve Herbert said the report showed with international student revenue decreasing, domestic fees increasing, government grants declining and redundancy costs escalating, the long-term financial sustainability of TAFEs is at risk.

However the State Government had a different spin on the figures, with Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall stating TAFE institutes were in a “strong financial position” to provide Victorians with the training needed to “continue on their journey as a world class, highly skilled workforce”.

Last year the State Government announced it was cutting $300 million per year from TAFEs over four years, before announcing a $200 million “structural adjustment” package for the sector in March.