Thursday, 16 February 2017
Statements by Members
Vocational Education and Training
I am pleased to rise today and reflect on the Turnbull government's reforms of the VET FEE-HELP system, Labor's failed policy, last year. Here is why. Last week I was contacted by a young constituent burdened by a VET FEE loan scam. In 2014 she was contacted by a training provider who got her details off a website. After receiving a number of calls she was signed up to a course with assurances that it was the right decision and promises of work upon graduation. A month later the training provider contacted her to advise she was a student completing her diploma in business administration.
It was not until a dispute over the completion of work that the student began to question whether her course was nationally recognised. After weeks of unanswered emails and phone calls, the student received two responses: the first advising that she still had not completed the work, and the second advising that she was no longer enrolled. After three months of trying to contact the training provider, she gave up. In 2015 she tried to contact them again and has still heard nothing back. Come tax time, she realised she had incurred a $9,000 VET FEE debt with nothing to show for it.
Unfortunately, her case has been replicated across the country. I will give you the benefit of the doubt. We will put it down to the law of unintended consequences, but ultimately it is a Labor stitch-up. You have saddled young Australians with bad debt, and they are suffering for it. I am very heartened that the Turnbull government is taking action to reform it. (Time expired)