With the VET Student Loans Bill soon expected before the Parliament, Bill Shorten has written to the Prime Minister calling on him to urgently step in and address critical implication issues.
Both the approved course list and the classification of courses under different caps sit outside of the proposed legislation, but will have a devastating impact on the Vocational Education sector if they are not correct.
Labor has repeatedly raised concerns over the jobs that will be lost, the students who will be disadvantaged and the career pathways that will be blocked if the Government fails to implement these reforms properly.
“I am deeply concerned that quality providers will be hit hard if the Government doesn’t get these reforms right,” Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development said.
“We know that Not-For-Profit providers and our TAFE system are particularly vulnerable and could feel impacts immediately.”
These reforms have a proposed starting date of 1 January 2017, meaning the Government is running out of time to get this right.
Labor believes that the overly simplistic methodology used to determine the approved course list is deeply flawed and could seriously limit the career pathways of students who are working hard to build their skills.
Labor has serious questions about the methods used to classify courses under different cost caps, another measure which sits outside of the legislation but will be critical to the success of the reforms.
Labor also believes that the National Partnership on Skills reform, which is due to expire on 1 July 2017, must be replaced with a new agreement that provides funding certainty for the Vocational Education sector.
Labor knows that reform is long overdue, and we will not delay passage of the legislation through the Parliament.
Effective implementation will be what makes or breaks these reforms, and Malcolm Turnbull needs to step up and take responsibility.