Once you have established a project need, you will need to gain funding and approval to commence the project. This page sets out the key funding approvals for externally funded and high-value-high-risk (HVHR) projects. This page should be read alongside our guidance on approvals processes.
External funded projects or programs are typically approved through the annual government budgetary process via the Expenditure Review Sub-Committee (ERSC) of cabinet, with specific approvals required from the Treasurer for HVHR projects. The Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery (OTCD) will then typically provide approval for the release of funding for the project through its capital works funding agreement (CWFA).
Externally funded HVHR projects are subject to separate approvals under the DTF HVHR framework. If you are conducting a project that meets the HVHR requirements and doesn’t require external funding, you may wish to follow the HVHR guidelines to gain access to DTF guidance and elect to participate in the gateway review and assurance processes. Guidance on the process for gaining approval for HVHR projects that do not require external funding is outlined below.
For Capital projects
The OTCD, in partnership with the TAFE network, has developed a TAFE Network Asset Strategy.
The Asset Strategy seeks to support a more coordinated approach to asset planning and delivery across the TAFE system and forms a key pillar of the OTCD’s reform agenda .It supports Government’s vision for TAFE to be a quality benchmark for the training system by identifying and prioritising investment opportunities across the TAFE network, and will be the primary framework to guide future TAFE asset investment decisions.
The Strategy is informed by demography, industry and workforce skills need, LGA planning schemes, transport networks, enrolment forecasts, locational information and asset base information.
TAFEs are encouraged to consult early with the OTCD to confirm their project is a network priority and to gain its support.
Sources of external funding
If the project requires external funding, you may wish to seek funding via the annual government budgetary process, or potentially as part of a program of funding to be allocated within the TAFE sector.
Government budget processes
The following may aid the understanding of typical processes and potential timing requirements, from both the TAFE's and the OTCD's perspective, when seeking external funding through the Victorian government’s annualised budgetary process. Please note that this process varies from year to year, so you should confirm timing and specific requirements with your OTCD representative.
Government budget processes – TAFE perspective
March - April
Minister to brief DET on key areas of priority for TAFE sector. the OTCD to communicate briefing to TAFEs.
April - May
The OTCD to discuss alignment of TAFE asset management plans with current funding around TAFE priorities
May - June
TAFE discussions with the OTCD to prioritise projects for business case development
August - September
TAFEs to submit draft business cases to the OTCD for early consideration
Gateway review process completed (if applicable)
November - December
TAFEs submission of final business case to the OTCD
Government budget processes – OTCD perspective
September – December
Development of departmental ERSC funding requests submissions
Ministerial consideration and approval of submissions to ERSC and DTF/DPC
November – January
Forward estimates updates
Submission of journals to inform budget capacity
December – March
DTF/DPC review departmental submissions (including specific business cases) and seek clarification
Formal briefings provided to inform ERSC deliberations
February – April
ERSC meet to discuss submissions
Finalised ERSC decisions and approved minutes
January – May
Budget paper development
Budget tabled in parliament
May budget announcement
Projects are approved and announced within the budget papers
Following approval and announcement of project funding in the May budget announcement, the OTCD will discuss and agree upon a capital works funding agreement (CWFA) under which the project will be delivered.
Aligning the project to government processes
As outlined in the timeline above, departments start their funding submission to the ERSC and DTF/DPC in September prior to the May budget announcement.
To ensure that the project is eligible to receive funding, you will need to ensure the OTCD has sufficient time to review (and where appropriate provide guidance on the development of) the funding submission. For large complex projects (that require significant planning and design to inform project definition and costing), this may mean commencing business case development 12-18 months prior to OTCD’s December submission to ERSC and DTF/DPC. Early consultation with the OTCD will also ensure that the project is in line with government objectives, increasing its chance of a successful funding outcome. Generally, the TAFE’s asset management plan will also be reviewed by the OTCD to confirm that the project is a TAFE and OTCD priority. This could be undertaken as part of the process to confirm the project is a priority prior to developing an initial case for investment.
Other sources of government funding
Sometimes governments may allocate a program of funding set aside for TAFE projects such as the Greener Government Buildings program. To access these allocations of funds, you will need to submit a funding submission to the OTCD. Unlike gaining funding through annual budget processes, there is no standard timeline for gaining access to funding through these allocations – so it is important to look out for and be aware of any upcoming funding opportunities that may be relevant to the TAFE and its projects.