Posted on 20. Aug, 2012 in News

Victorian CFA fire-fighters will no longer be able to enrol to train in vital fire fighting courses at Ballarat University as a result of the Baillieu Government’s cuts to TAFE, Shadow Spokesman for Emergency Services James Merlino said today.

140 students studying certificate three Public Safety (fire-fighting and emergency operations) and certificate four in fire technology will no longer be taught in Victoria, but by the Open Training and Education Network (OTEN), part of TAFE NSW.

Mr Merlino said Ballarat University said the Baillieu government’s $290 million funding cuts to TAFE are to blame for their decision to phase out the delivery of distance education training to CFA students.

“As much as Ted Baillieu tries to blame institutions for the closure of campuses and courses, the fact is that you can’t rip $290 million out of the sector and expect business to continue as usual,” Mr Merlino said.

“Mr Baillieu by now must be starting to see that his course cuts are far more devastating that he would have us believe.

“We have maintained that these savage cuts were going to cause campus closures, job cuts, fewer courses on offer and a hike in student fees.

“It is time for him to admit he made a mistake and re-instate TAFE funding before it is too late.”

Mr Merlino said the axeing of the two courses at Ballarat University meant that Victoria would lose its expertise in fire-fighting.

“It makes no sense that Victoria, as one of most fire prone areas in the world, would have to outsource the training it should provide to its primary bushfire fighting outfit to Sydney,” he said.

“The fact that CFA recruits will have to learn these skills from a Sydney based provider is an indictment on this government and the impact that its ill thought-out budget cuts are having.”


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