Today Labor will put forward a positive plan to crack down on shonky providers in the vocational education sector.
In amendments to the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Bill 2015to be moved by Sharon Bird in the House of Representatives, Labor will call on the Government to appoint an industry funded National VET Ombudsman and support Labor’s call for the Auditor General to conduct an audit on the use of VET FEE-HELP.
Labor will also put forward an amendment in detail which requires the Department to write to prospective students with a clear statement on the amount of debt that they are about to undertake and require the student to reply to the Department before a debt is raised.
Further, Labor will refer the legislation to the Senate Legislation Committee to look at options to cap tuition fee levels for courses covered by VET FEE-HELP and lower the lifetime limit on VET FEE-HELP student loans.
Over two years and three different Ministers, the Abbott/Turnbull Government has tinkered around the edges while VET FEE-HELP loans have skyrocketed from $699 million in 2013 to $1.7 billion in 2014. Vulnerable students are still being ripped off by shonks and sharks and this needs to stop.
The Liberals need to stop playing the blame-game - otherwise the cost will be borne by individual students, Australian taxpayers and the economy.
Today, Labor calls on the Turnbull Government to join with Labor to put these stronger measures in place to stop these shonks and sharks and to protect vulnerable students.