Government Says It's Not Time To Protect The Vulnerable - Shame!


Today the Government voted against Labor’s call to urgently commit to the introduction of student protections for vulnerable people being exploited by unscrupulous training providers and the misuse of VET FEE-HELP in the House of Representatives.


Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Sharon Bird, today put forward amendments to the Government’s National VET Regulator Amendment Bill to have the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission develop stronger consumer protection measures.


“The debate followed the introduction on Monday of the Interim Report of the Senate Inquiry into The operation, regulation and funding of private vocational education and training (VET) providers in Australia.  Members in the House from both parties put forward even more examples of vulnerable people being targeted by dodgy providers and the misuse of VET FEE-HELP,” Sharon Bird said.


Sharon Bird reported to the House during debate on the significant and growing number of media reports detailing the devastating impact of this problem on individuals who have been brave enough to come forward and tell their story:


“The fact that somebody can come in at that point in their life and with foresight and knowledge unscrupulously take advantage of them and walk away with a profit and leave them with a significant debt is absolutely disgraceful”


“Labor put forward some helpful and sensible amendments to the legislation to help inform and protect consumers.  Unfortunately the Abbott Government has chosen to ignore the urgency and hope the problem goes away rather than agree to our fair and reasonable amendments,” Ms Bird said.


Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Senator Kim Carr said recent revelations of gross abuses and possible criminal behaviour by shonky operators exploiting public funding requires the Government to do more than issue pious statements.


“Labor believes there is no place “for unscrupulous and illegal providers” in the VET sector and the fact that the Government has chosen to ignore the problem and reject Labor’s sensible amendments shows we are the only party interested in addressing this issue and protecting our training industry and the students who use it,” Senator Kim Carr said.