10.5 C
Byron Shire
October 4, 2022

Mullumbimby conmen mentioned in parliament

Latest News

‘Sad and distressing’: massive numbers of bird deaths in Australian heatwaves reveal a profound loss is looming

Heatwaves linked to climate change have already led to mass deaths of birds and other wildlife around the world. To stem the loss of biodiversity as the climate warms, we need to better understand how birds respond.

Other News

Acid sulfate soil run off impacting health of fish and Tweed River

Acid sulfate soil (ASS)-related runoff from floodplain drains is affecting water quality and the health of fish in the Tweed River and Tweed Shire Council (TSC) are seeking to assist landholders with improving water quality projects. 

It is a weekend of excitement, fun and laughter for everyone at the National Circus Festival

It truly is like stepping into another world as you enter The Famous Spiegeltent which is here for the National Circus Festival that is taking place this weekend in Mullumbimby before it once again heads off around the world.

Something for everyone at Byron Theatre in October

Get your pulse pumping at the 2022 Radical Reels Tour on Friday 7 October at 7pm, presented by Adventure...

$8.5m allocated for upgrade of Goonellabah to Wollongbar Road

Funding to investigate and upgrade the Bruxner Highway between Goonellabah and Wollongbar has been allocated by the Federal and NSW State governments.

A Forest of excellence

Forest Byron Bay, a restaurant by Crystalbrook Collection, has won the Regional Contemporary Australian Restaurant – Formal category at...

CWA push for improved maternity services

The W in CWA stands for Women and the CWA have been standing up for women yet again during their recent webinar and annual Awareness Week campaign.

Federal Richmond MP, Labor's Justine Elliot.
Federal Richmond MP, Labor’s Justine Elliot.

Chris Dobney

The case of two conmen who have been signing up unsuspecting ‘students’ to dodgy courses outside the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre, revealed by Echonetdaily earlier this week, has been raised in federal parliament.

In a speech on the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Bill on Wednesday, Richmond Labor MP Justine Elliot, told parliament that ‘as recently as yesterday… the Echonetdaily, [ran a story] related to some people who were behaving rather unscrupulously near the Mullumbimby and District Neighbourhood Centre.’

‘The fact is that, no matter what the government might say, this is exactly what is happening on the ground; it was happening yesterday in Mullumbimby in my area, Ms Elliot said.

‘So there are a lot of concerns and we have seen some distressed students sometimes being completely unaware that they have actually even signed up for a particular course. Further adding to their distress is that they often find they have been saddled with a really significant debt. It is particularly unfair and that is why we need to have more action in place than just what the government has put forward,’ she added.

Ms Elliot said, the aim of the ALP amendment, which failed along party lines, was to ‘protect students and taxpayers by making it easier for a student who has been signed up for a loan inappropriately to have their debt cancelled and for the government to recoup some of the cost from providers’.

According to Labor, VET FEE-HELP loans have skyrocketed from $699 million in 2013 to $1.7 billion in 2014 and the amendment would have seen the introduction of a minimum registration requirement.

‘The trading history requirement ensures that new VET FEE-HELP provider applicants have a proven history of delivering quality training. It is very important in terms of the integrity of the scheme overall and the reputation of the sector to have in place measures like that,’ she said.

‘In addition to the effect of these shonky providers is the concern for the overall reputation of the sector and making sure there are quality providers out there. It is important for all of us to know that there are many outstanding providers in this sector who do a great job.

‘That is why the quality of the sector must be improved, because we are only seeing media reports of the dodgy or unscrupulous providers, and we know there are many good ones out there as well. That is why it is important to clean up this whole sector and make sure we have even greater action and more enhanced roles in terms of safety.’

‘Labor has consistently called for the government to crack down on the problems relating to VET FEE-HELP. The government has taken almost two years to propose legislation that might actually address some of these issues.

‘Labor has also previously called for the Auditor-General to conduct an inquiry into the use of VET FEE-HELP. Over two years and three different ministers, we have seen some tinkering around the edges, but we really need to see some firm and solid action in this area,’ she said.

TAFE sale

Ms Elliot also used her speech to take aim at TAFE sales on the north coast, which she said had hobbled the government sector while giving unscrupulous private operators a further leg up.

‘At both state and federal levels, the cuts that have been made to TAFE have been extremely harsh. We especially see that in regional and rural areas. We see how it impacts younger people and really devastates their opportunities to get decent training,’ she said.

In my electorate of Richmond… this included the full sale of Murwillumbah TAFE, and the government have now admitted that is exactly what they intend to do—sell off the Murwillumbah TAFE.

‘In nearby Ballina, soon to be within my electorate, there is the partial sale of the Ballina campus. There has been a huge community outcry in relation to this. The community do not want to see this happening. They know how important our TAFE is.

‘TAFE plays an important role in our towns and TAFE means that so many local students can access the education and skills they need. It is especially important in regional areas, where we consistently see high levels of youth unemployment,’ Ms Elliot said.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

  1. O the joys of privatization – rivers of gold pouring into the coffers of incompetant & greedy wanna be’s. Overwhelming evidence of these problems nationally … so the response is? This is NO WAY of spending tax payer funds, a blatant mismanagement by the State Government. Makes one so very cynical (feel like doing a check on directors of the companies & cross-checking with polly’s & their family members). TAFE needs a massive funding boost – for the benefit of all regional communities.

  2. This is the kind of nonsense which goes on with “small government”: nobody to police the scamsters and brigands. When will people wake up to what “Political Liberalism” actually means?

  3. Good on you Justine, trying to clean up this rort. My friend was enrolled in one of these dodgy colleges.

    Everything was online of computer generated classes featuring American accented voices etc. Her only contact was by email and phone to a Student progress Advisor. Upon inquiring turns out her SPA and the other students were Filipinos in a Manila call centre. Never once did she speak to a teacher. In the end they could not get it together to send her final exam to her exam supervisor.

    Then she receives an email to inform her her ‘lecturer had resigned.

    It is yet another dodgy scam ripping off the tax payer, designed to make fat cats rich while dumbing down the populace..,

    .

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

CWA push for improved maternity services

The W in CWA stands for Women and the CWA have been standing up for women yet again during their recent webinar and annual Awareness Week campaign.

Chris Minns visits Kingscliff to look at floodplain development risks

The potential future risks and costs of flooding to the community and government if approved, but yet to be built, housing is allowed to go ahead in floodplains was under the spotlight last week in Kingscliff.

The Tweed Artisan Food Festival is almost here

The sixth Tweed Artisan Food Festival will be held at the end of the month – the festival runs for 10 days with 20 curated events showcasing the people, the place and the produce of the Tweed.

$30 million Aboriginal Community and Place Grants

Eligible Aboriginal community organisations and groups can apply for funding through the new solutions-focused $30 million Aboriginal Community and Place Grants program.