Reports today by the ABC confirm that the Abbott/Turnbull Liberal Government not only ignored the skyrocketing growth in VET FEE-HELP student loans to some providers, but they also withheld the tools that the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) needed to effectively crack down on the shonks and sharks in the vocational education system.
Throughout 2014 there were continuous media reports about shonks and sharks targeting vulnerable people and rorting the system, yet the Liberal Government failed to take action.
“Government knew this was growing fast. Government knew which colleges. We
did our own analysis that showed over 70 per cent of growth was in the top 20
colleges. So the monitoring task wasn’t that big. It wasn’t hard to have a look
at. I strongly believe that government should have managing that money and
intervening and saying ‘whoa, that’s too fast. You’re a college, we’re going to
have a look at you’”.
Rod Camm, CEO of Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET), ABC Background Briefing, 28 February 2016
The ABC report has also confirmed reports that VET FEE-HELP data wasn’t provided to ASQA until early in 2015.
“Certainly I think in the early days, that information wasn’t forthcoming the way it is now”.
Chris Robinson, Commissioner, ASQA, ABC Background Briefing, 28 February 2016
Under the Liberals watch, the vocational education and training sector has been in crisis with VET FEE-HELP loans escalating from $699 million in 2013 to $1.7 billion in 2014.
Despite this massive blowout, the ABC has reported that the Liberal Government failed to supply ASQA with data that confirmed which colleges were accessing VET FEE-HELP loans at rapidly growing rates, for example, one college accessed $2 million in 2014 and then over $100 million in 2015.
The Senate Inquiry into the operation, regulation and funding of private vocational education and training (VET) providers in Australia last year continuously heard that ASQA was not fit for purpose.
However, the reports today have proven that the Liberal Government did not give ASQA the data they needed to effectively target training colleges who were growing at these massive rates.
At every point, the Abbott/Turnbull Government refused to act to stop the shonks and sharks targeting vulnerable people and these latest reports confirm that it was gross mismanagement by the Liberals that has allowed the shonks and sharks to continue to rort taxpayer funds and rip students off.
The Liberals repeatedly refused to establish a VET Ombudsman.
The Liberals are still refusing to cap student fees.
What’s worse, they now have a secret plan to takeover and destroy TAFE.
Malcolm Turnbull now needs to step up and clean up the mess in the vocational education sector, stop the rorts and come clean on his plans for a TAFE destroying takeover.
SUNDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2016