The financial health of Victoria’s TAFE sector is deteriorating, with the Victorian Acting Auditor-General finding that 10 out of 14 “standalone” TAFEs were at medium financial risk last year, compared with seven in 2011.
TAFEs were also more reliant on government funding for capital works, being unable to cover asset upgrades through their own activities.
TAFEs generated a $58.5 million surplus in 2012, down more than 39% on the previous year due, in large part, to increased employee costs flowing from redundancies.
Changes to funding mean that TAFEs are now more reliant on student tuition fees for generating a major portion of their operating revenue.
Student revenue in 2012 was consistent with the previous year, with a $7.1 million drop in international student fees offset by a $7.7 million jump in payments from domestic pupils.
Victorian skills minister said the report “shows that Victoria’s TAFE institutes are in a leading position to provide Victorians with the training needed to continue on their journey as a world class, highly skilled workforce.” He said that
As outlined in the Next Steps for Refocusing Vocational Training in Victoria – Supporting a Modern Workforce, the minister says the Victorian Coalition Government will also:
- reduce the regulatory burden on TAFE institutes through streamlined reporting requirements and by more clearly defining roles and responsibilities of TAFE institutes and the Department;
- allow TAFE institutes to have more control over workplace relations;
- modernise the institutes’ constitutions and supply commercial objectives for TAFE institutes to provide a clearer understanding of Government’s expectations;
- remove the restriction on TAFE institutes being registered as Group Training Organisations;
- and reclassify the TAFE operations of dual-sector universities to bring them into line with other universities and reduce their reporting requirements.