The National’s training, skills and apprenticeship spokesperson Steph Ryan has criticised the state government’s bus routes to the Federation Training campus at Yallourn.
Ms Ryan said the new bus route configurations, implemented in April, made it “more difficult for students locally to actually enrol in courses there to get the skills they need to get a job”.
“The bus service used to run directly to Federation Training’s Yallourn campus,” Ms Ryan said.
“It now stops some distance from the campus, which means that students have to walk three kilometres or they have to wait an extensive period of time for another bus, a connecting bus to come.”
Ms Ryan said there could be “real ramifications” for students who use public transport to get to the Yallourn campus.
“I think we’ll see enrolments at the Yallourn campus affected,” she said.
“It is the last thing Federation Training needs and it demonstrates a real lack of support from the Andrews’ Labor Government at a time when Federation Training is really struggling.”
Ms Ryan’s criticism comes after Federation Training tabled its annual report last week.
“The report showed that the organisation is in crisis, in my view,” Ms Ryan said.
“I don’t think you can rip away public transport services from one of the region’s major TAFE campuses and expect that it is not going to have an impact.
“I am calling on the Andrews’ Labor Government to reverse its decision to cut these services and reinstate bus services to the Yallourn campus.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said it was “rich” of the Nationals to take an interest in TAFE “when in fact they cut TAFE” and “sacked teachers when they were last in government”.
“What we have done following community consultation has been to introduce another route 15 service which has been operating since April to give students and staff at Federation Training their very own dedicated bus service and the timetable for that service provides better access and more direct services to Federation Training,” she said.
“It is not uncommon for changes to be required all over Victoria when travelling to specific destinations and we are constantly looking at ways to improve the accessibility of public transport as part of the region’s network development plan, including through better connectivity between bus and trains and more dedicated rail and bus services.”
Ms Shing said Federation Training Yallourn was previously serviced by route five and route one, however route five was streamlined to create a quicker travel time and route 15 was introduced in April to specifically service Federation Training.