THE opposition spokesperson for the higher education and skills has criticised the announcement of a higher education centre at Federation Training’s Traralgon campus.
Located at the former GippsTAFE campus on the Princes Highway, Federation Training – an amalgamation of the former TAFE and AdvanceTAFE – last week opened the centre to provide six university courses.
The opposition spokesperson, Steve Herbert, said Higher Education and Skills Minister Nick Wakeling handed out $500,000 to a training facility “which duplicates courses offered up the road (at Federation University Gippsland), while there’s rising youth unemployment and reduced opportunities”.
“That’s fine, but he needs to concentrate on vocation courses and training, not just higher education,” Mr Herbert said.
Mr Herbert said he questioned the Minister in Parliament about how the $40 million to support the integration of Federation training and university, would be spent if Federation Training campuses would remain open and what guarantees there were for courses continuing or vocational offerings.
“They need to make it clear when they merge with the university that there will a strong TAFE presence in Gippsland,” Mr Herbert said.
“The government needs to guarantee that Federation Training as a TAFE will continue with its campuses, courses and what they intend to do. They cowardly say that’s up to them, not up to us.”
Mr Wakeling said Labor had shown it would dismantle pathways and opportunities offered by Federation Training and Federation University for their own political gain, stripping the Gippsland region of better training opportunities for years to come.
“While TAFEs around the state are building strong relationships with universities, it is clear that an Andrews’ Labor Government would dismantle this,” Mr Wakeling said.
“In Gippsland, Labor would wind back the partnership between Federation Training and Federation University, and undermine the significant benefits local students have to progress from vocational to higher education.”
Federation Training did not respond to The Express before going to print.