Tertiary education in Esperance will be provided by Kalgoorlie College from January 1.
Announcing the decision today, Goldfields Minister Ian Taylor said the decision to transfer responsibility for tertiary education in Esperance from Albany to Kalgoorlie had been made following strong community and local government representation.
"Both the Shire of Esperance and Kalgoorlie College are to be congratulated on their efforts to improve technical and further education opportunities for the Esperance community," Mr Taylor said.
"It is clear that the people of Esperance feel they have greater cultural, educational and employment links with the Goldfields and this re-allocation of responsibilities is good news for the region as a whole."
Mr Taylor said approval for the transfer of TAFE administration in Esperance from the Department of Employment, Vocational Education and Training to Kalgoorlie College had been granted by Education Minister Kay Hallahan in the light of the community's point of view and the long-term education and training needs of Esperance.
Kalgoorlie College began discussions on a possible merger three years ago. The restructure of TAFE in late 1990 saw the regionalisation of the Esperance TAFE to Albany and the dissolving of the local TAFE advisory committee.
"Talks with Kalgoorlie College and myself culminated in an invitation by the College Council to representatives of the Esperance Shire Council and its administration to visit the college campus in Kalgoorlie in September," Mr Taylor said.
A subsequent public meeting in Esperance voted to support the merger with Kalgoorlie.
Mr Taylor said today all courses already planned for the Esperance centre in 1993 would be provided in first semester.
"I know director Dick Lamb and the board of the college are hoping to expand in areas which reflect the future demands of the Esperance region including fishing science, aquaculture, light land farming and alternative energies," he said.
Mr Taylor said the first action of the college would be to link the Esperance centre through computer to the full library facility at Kalgoorlie College and through that to Curtin University.
Kalgoorlie College would retain present staff in Esperance for 12 months on their existing conditions, to allow them time to consider the change. At the end of this time, all permanent officers would have the choice of transferring to Kalgoorlie College staff and conditions or returning to their substantive positions in DEVET.