Senate debates

Monday, 30 November 2015


Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015, Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015; In Committee

8:45 pm

Photo of Kim CarrKim Carr (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader for Science) Share this | Hansard source

The minister has misrepresented what I am saying about Vocation. I was saying that Vocation today announced that it was closing its doors and sending students on their way with no money in the account. Yet the government claimed they have robust regulatory supervision, and clearly they did not when it came to Vocation. And, as you have said, Vocation did not have any international students. That was not the point I was making. You are grossly misrepresenting my position. I am saying that you are relying upon regulatory authorities which have yet to demonstrate to my mind and to many others that they are indeed fit for purpose.

Let me refer specifically to the risk factor here. The explanatory memorandum notes:

While the designated account requirement was introduced to reduce risk to the TPS, …

The Parliamentary Library points out:

While the ESOS agency can choose to impose additional safeguards in relation to providers considered to be a high risk, the ultimate effect of … these provisions may be that the TPS is required to step in more often where providers fail to … refund those fees …

I am quoting from the Bills Digest, page 12. The issue here is that we have narrowed down our amendment to this particular issue around the designated funds. We have concerns about other aspects of this bill, this deregulation push, but this issue here stands to be a matter on which the Senate can make a judgement.

This is not the creation of a new fund; this is a protection of an existing fund. These amendments have the effect of keeping the fund that has only been in operation since 2012 in place, because the measures the government is proposing, I am suggesting, are premature. And in light of the evidence of the failure of our regulators to be able to deal effectively with the vocational educational system then it is indeed reckless.

The CHAIRMAN: The question is that amendment (1) on sheet 7801 be agreed to.


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