COLAC’S Otway Community College has gone into voluntary administration after struggling to cope with changes in government funding.
The Murray Street-based college closed its doors at 5pm yesterday.
OCC chief executive officer Peter Macdonald said the college had been under financial pressure “for some time”, partly due to changes in state and federal government policies.
“The board has been having discussions with the major funding bodies over the past month and other like organisations over some time to try and resolve these difficulties,” Mr Macdonald said.
“It is with regret that we have not been able to find any solution and the board has no alternative but to place the college under voluntary administration,” he said.
The announcement is the second blow to Colac and district in the past week, after Fonterra announced its Cororooke factory, which has 130 staff, would close mid next year.
OCC website says the college employs about 80 Colac and district people.
The college offers accredited training and other courses, provides disability services and has support services for new migrants, refugees and youths.
The college started 31 years ago as Colac Adult and Community Education, and employs people through Colac’s Botanic Café, Design a Copy and a gardening and maintenance program.
Colac Otway Shire Council acting chief executive officer Jack Green said the news of the voluntary administration concerned the council.
Mr Green said the council hoped to gain a better understanding of the circumstances around the decision in coming days.
He said this week had been difficult for the Colac Otway Shire community.
“The news about Otway Community College has come just days after we learnt that the Fonterra factory at Cororooke is set to close,” Mr Green said.
“The council is deeply saddened for the staff and students of Otway Community College,” he said.
Geelong TAFE could help students
Polwarth MP Terry Mulder says Otway Community College students might be able to continue their courses with another organisation.
Mr Mulder said he understood Geelong’s Gordon TAFE had agreed to work with the State Government on a student transition plan.
“My first concern is to ensure that the students and clients of the college are able to continue their programs through other providers with a minimum of disruption,” he said.
“This work will continue over the coming weeks and I am hopeful that within a short period of time, all students will be able to continue on with their courses.”