Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, has welcomed the Government’s introduction of legislation to better support students in the New England who were ripped off under Labor’s failed VET FEE-HELP scheme and who were lumped with debts they had no chance of paying off.
“Labor’s VET FEE-HELP scheme was a disastrous policy that exposed students in our community to aggressive and dishonest tactics by a number of training providers,” Mr Joyce said.
“These predatory type tactics on students in rural and regional areas like our own were quite frankly, un-Australian, and will not be tolerated.”
Under Labor’s VET FEE-HELP loan scheme, the unethical actions of a number of unscrupulous training providers and their agents targeted vulnerable or unsuitable people who were lured - anyway they could be - into signing onto a course.
Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Michaelia Cash said the program saddled them with debt and offered very little in return, sometimes a worthless qualification - if anything at all.
Labor’s VET FEE-HELP scheme was replaced with the VET Student Loans program, which has weeded-out and shutdown unscrupulous providers, improved completion rates, and restored confidence in the sector.
“We want every Australian parent to know that when their son or daughter chooses Vocational Education and Training they can be confident that they are receiving the highest standard of education,” Minister Cash said.
Mr Joyce said a VET education is just as important to our economy as a university degree, especially in country towns affected by drought.
“Our skilled workforce - in building and construction, agriculture, tourism, health and mining services - will help Australia meet its export potential and rebuild our regional communities affected by the financial shortfall incurred due to drought.
“Our Government has also invested $1.5 billion in the Skilling Australians Fund to create 300,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships across the country, in addition to the $1.2 billion we invest in skills programs.
“We are committed to a VET system that is delivering quality skills that Australians want – and which employers and industry need – to meet the challenges of the future.”