Misuse of VET FEE-HELP Must Be Investigated

Following months of reports detailing the misuse and abuse of VET FEE-HELP, Senator Kim Carr and Sharon Bird have today written to the Auditor-General asking him to urgently conduct an audit into the use of VET FEE-HELP.  

“There have been a significant number of media, industry and ASQA reports on the misuse of VET FEE-HELP contributing to unscrupulous behaviour in the VET sector. This has also been reflected in the previous Senate inquiry, Senate estimates and now, this week, in the report of the House of Representatives Committee inquiry into TAFE,” Sharon Bird said. 

“We need to ensure that taxpayer funds are being spent on quality training and students are not incurring debts for poor-quality courses or courses that are not suitable to their needs.  

“The taxpayer should not be paying unscrupulous providers who provide little or no training to students or recruit and enrol students through questionable practices.  

“It is imperative that skills funding, particularly where it also creates a debt for the student, is invested properly in training and skilling our workers for a lifetime in the modern workforce. 

“Labor urges the Auditor-General to fully investigate VET FEE-HELP to ensure that skills funding is being used in accordance with the intention of the legislation and not being squandered by unscrupulous providers.”

“The Coalition has a very poor record when it comes to ensuring quality in our vocational and higher education sectors,” Senator Carr said.

“When they were last in government all manner of shonky providers got away with ripping students off with a host of extraordinary scams.

“I’m sure the Coalition would recall the infamous case of St Clements in Adelaide, a whisky distillery operating as a university, to cite but one example.

“The Labor Government cleaned up the system and put in place a robust oversight framework to protect students. The last thing we want to see is standards slipping again.

“This is also a reputational issue for Australia. Higher Education is Australia’s third largest export and we cannot afford to see a slipshod Liberal-National Government in Canberra compromise our hard-earned status.”