Release type: Media Release

Date:

Australians paying over $3 billion for Labor’s VET FEE-HELP disaster

Ministers:

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business
Acting Minister for Education and Youth

The Morrison Government has today revealed Australians are still paying off dodgy debts racked up as a result of Labor’s disastrous VET FEE-HELP program with almost $3.3 billion in VET FEE-HELP debts recredited to over 180,000 students since 2016.

Labor’s disastrous VET FEE-HELP program was introduced and expanded under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Government and opened Australia’s skills sector to system-wide rorting as unscrupulous providers exploited loose rules to charge thousands of students substantial debts for training they would never undertake or never benefit from.

Under Labor’s VET FEE-HELP scheme dodgy providers specifically targeted people living in public housing, people with disability, people with substance abuse issues and non-English speakers with offers of free laptops and other incentives while charging tens of thousands of dollars in course fees for courses that had dubious prospects of helping them get into a job.

The Morrison Government has been steadily re-crediting students’ inappropriate debts for over three years under the VET FEE-HELP Student Redress Measures to ensure students are not financially disadvantaged. The Student Redress Measures will close to new complainants from 31 December 2022.

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert, is driving a renewed focus on resolving outstanding debts following modelling by the Australian Government Actuary (AGA) suggesting there were still students who were not aware of their debt with the closing date for applications set for December 2022. The AGA modelling shows the total value of re-credits for VET FEE-HELP students could reach between $3.8 billion to $4.6 billion. 

‘The Australian taxpayer is still paying off Labor’s disastrous skills policies nine years after they were voted out, but those vulnerable Australians who lost out under VET FEE-HELP will live with the impacts for years to come,’ Minister Robert said.

‘Labor like to talk a big game on skills, but VET FEE-HELP demonstrates when Labor promises something will be free the Australian taxpayer will inevitably pick up the tab. 

‘Today I am encouraging anyone who thinks they have been wronged under this scheme to come forward and contact the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.’

For more information on assistance available to resolve a dodgy VET FEE-HELP debt please visit the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman: https://www.ombudsman.gov.au/How-we-can-help/vslo