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Kangan/Bendigo merger funded

Bendigo Advertiser   |   24 May 2014

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Bendigo TAFE will receive $64 million from the state government to support its merger with Melbourne-based Kangan Institute. The government expects a further $35 million to be invested by the private sector and the merged institute.

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BendigoThe government says the funding will lead to 55 additional courses being offered in Bendigo, with a focus on health, engineering and management.

A National Centre of Excellence for Health and Human Services will be created at the campus with a focus on the health industry.  The centre will be created in partnership with La Trobe University to make the most of employment opportunities at the new hospital

Higher Education and Skills Minister Nick Wakeling said all campuses would remain open under the same branding.
As part of the funding, $25 million will be spent to upgrade the McRae Street campus once a business case has been completed.

The Bendigo Kangan Institute will have its head office in Bendigo, with board meetings to alternate between Bendigo and Melbourne.

Bendigo education and health leaders say the merger will help the city keep up with the the city keep up with the latest education technology and meet skill demand.

Bendigo TAFE interim chief executive officer Peter Coyne said the merger is a part of a growth strategy for education in Bendigo.

To compete we need scale and good investment. We’ve got to attract students by repositioning and that’s what we’re doing with the centre of excellence for health. The centre is also a great employment opportunity for Bendigo.

The merger proposal has received support from Bendigo Business Council, Bendigo Health and La Trobe University management.

La Trobe vice chancellor Professor John Dewar said in a letter of support that the merger offered exciting opportunities to create a financially strong business focussed on “quality flexible delivery of applied learning”.

In particular, it fulfills the primary objective of ensuring that Bendigo and regional Victoria have a sustainable and strong public provider of quality vocational training and education well into the future.There is a clear geographical proximity between the proposed partners and this relationship offers a natural synergy for linking the communities of the Bendigo region with the northern outskirts of Melbourne.

Bendigo Health chief executive officer John Mulder said in a letter of support that the merger would help provide Bendigo’s future health workforce.

There is a general acceptance of the view that the current health system nursing workforce model is unsustainable and that the system will shortly require skilled third-tier workers to support our nursing workforce.

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said the merger is  a result of the state government’s $300 million-a-year cuts to technological and further education.

Bendigo has been one of the areas hardest hit by the state government’s cuts to TAFE. Most student fees have tripled, student numbers have declined, courses have closed and more than 200 TAFE teachers have lost their jobs at Bendigo TAFE.  This will do nothing to address the fundamental problem that this government refuses to support our public TAFE institutes,

The ALP  opposition has been critical of the merger, with Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan labelling it a takeover of the regional institute by the metropolitan-based Kangan  as a result of the government having pulled money from the sector.

 

 

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