Labor Shadow Ministers, Kim Carr and Sharon Bird, today welcomed comments by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman, Rod Sims, confirming that the ACCC has been investigating misleading and unconscionable conduct by training providers and has updated its website to include consumer advice on VET enrolment.
Over the past six months there has been a rise in disturbing media reports about unscrupulous marketing and recruitment practices targeting vulnerable people and signing them up to training courses that may be of poor quality and inappropriate to their needs.
Many of these stories identify people having debts over $20,000 without even finishing the course and gaining a qualification.
In March, Labor moved a second reading amendment to legislation in the House of Representatives calling on the Government to request the ACCC to develop national consumer advisory information on the VET sector and for the Government to explore all options for increased consumer protection.
This followed Labor's request in November last year for the Auditor General to investigate VET FEE-HELP to ensure that skills funding is being used in accordance with the intention of the legislation.
The Auditor General is currently considering this request but all other requests for the Government to take action have been ignored to date.
"We need to ensure that vulnerable people are not being exploited by unscrupulous providers and brokers in their race to make a quick buck at the expense of the taxpayer," Sharon Bird said.
"While the Minister has introduced positive new measures such as banning inducements, strong action is needed to ensure that unscrupulous sharks are forced out of the training market. To date, the Abbott Government has not seemed to understand this.
"I'm relieved to see that Labor's calls have finally been listened to by the ACCC and real action is being taken to protect vulnerable students."
“Reputation and standards mean everything in education and any allegation of unscrupulous behaviour must be investigated and acted on.” Senator Kim Carr said.
“The Coalition has a very poor record when it comes to ensuring quality in our vocational and higher education sectors. We are seeing history repeat itself.”
“Everyone deserves to have good quality training to prepare them for a lifetime in the workforce.”