While the crisis in the vocational education sector escalates, Minister Scott Ryan continues the excuses made by three former ministers over the last two years by refusing to take any responsibility for the massive blow-out in VET FEE-HELP loans, which are expected to exceed $3 billion for 2015.
In comments in the Sydney Morning Herald today, Minister Ryan again tries to pass the buck and blame Labor for the Liberals’ financial mismanagement and inaction throughout 2014 and 2015.
When will this Minister stop the buck passing and blame gaming and start acting like a real Minister of the Commonwealth?
VET FEE Help Loans escalated from $699 million in 2013 to $1.7 billion in 2014 - under the Liberals’ watch.
- 2015 figures are expected to have blown out to $3 billion – under the Liberals’ watch.
Despite numerous reports in 2014 of shonky providers ripping off vulnerable people the Liberals failed to stop the flow of billions of dollars to fast-growing colleges – some of which were just out to make a quick buck.
“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
Worse still, the Government also refused to provide VET FEE-HELP data to the regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (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
They refused to accept a number of Labor's proposals to address this problem, including a national ombudsman and capping fee costs.
The Liberals’ own secret plan for a TAFE-destroying takeover has not been ruled out by the Liberals. When will this Minister categorically rule out a TAFE-destroying takeover? If not, why not?
The Liberals’ secret plan also proposes to treat TAFE like every other private provider. Does the Minister plan to treat TAFE like every other private provider? Does he want the chaos caused by too many private providers to infect our TAFE system?
What the Minister’s comments do is demonstrate that the Liberals are in a panicked state of chaos.
It demonstrates they have no plan to give our future workforce the skills they need for the jobs of the future.
It demonstrates they have no plan to protect students.
It demonstrates they have no plan to protect TAFE.
It demonstrates they have no plan to stem the massive loss of apprentices under their watch.
It demonstrates they have no economic plan.
WEDNESDAY, 23 MARCH 2016