A report by the Overseas Student Ombudsman (OSO), which states that the majority of the 2150 complaints to the OSO were about the vocational education and training (VET) sector, demonstrates the urgent need for a VET Ombudsman (VETO) for domestic students.
Last week in Parliament the Turnbull Government refused to adopt Labor’s proposal to establish an industry-funded VET Ombudsman to help protect vulnerable students from shonky training colleges.
The Turnbull Government voted down this proposal, along with two other strong, common sense measures including for an Australian National Audit Office audit into the use of VET FEE-HELP and a requirement for students to opt-in to the Department of Education, rather than private providers, when applying for VET FEE-HELP loans.
VET stakeholders, including the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), have been calling for a VET Ombudsman to help protect students and restore the reputation of the sector.
Yet the Liberals have refused to support these common sense measures.
Yesterday, Minister Hartsuyker was boasting about the reduction in red tape for private colleges. The Liberals have completely missed the point about the problems that are occurring in the sector.
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.
The price of their stubbornness will mean that the cost will continue to be borne by individual students, Australian taxpayers and the economy.