AT least 230 administrative jobs will be axed as part of reforms designed to combat a bloated Tafe system and save $23 million per year.
From April 11, the 70 Western Australian campuses currently administered by 11 Tafe colleges will instead come under the governance of just five.
All campuses in Perth will be administered by either North or South Metropolitan Tafe – the State Government also opting to reinstate the well-known Tafe brand.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Training and Workforce Development Liza Harvey said freeing up more money would be “advantageous when it comes to looking at fees” but stopped short of promising an actual decrease.
“I had a reform team look at the Tafe structure and what the review recommended was collapsing those structures (from 11) into five administrative centres and five governing councils,” she said.
“This is not about lecturers losing their jobs and it is not about any student not being able to access the program they were accessing prior to April 11 when these changes occur.”
Mrs Harvey conceded that some courses may no longer be available at their current campuses but said the new structure would promote a collaborative relationship.
“It might be that you offer one program at one campus and another at a different campus,” she said.
“Between the two you get enough numbers to have a viable program operating at two different sites, rather than two or three campuses running a program with low student numbers.”
Opposition Minister for Training Fran Logan said the reforms were an admission that the State Government had failed Tafe students.
“This is not a restructure,” he said.
“The Liberals are trying to clean up the mess they have created with their huge fee increases by amalgamating colleges and sacking another 230 staff. The Minister is kidding herself if she think this will not impact the quality of education for Tafe students.
“You can’t cut this many jobs and reduce the number of campuses without impacting learning outcomes.”
SSTUWA vice-president Samantha Schofield said the union was concerned that even more money was going to be cut from the TAFE system.
“We have seen course fees rise by up to 650 per cent over two years in some cases, and as a consequence, we have seen enrolments plummet,” she said.