Opening up the vocational education sector to private providers has increased costs for students and undermined the quality of the public vocational education sector Greens MP and higher education spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said today.
Senator Rhiannon was commenting on the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET Fee-Help and Other Measures) Bill due to be debated shortly in the Senate.
"The Gillard government has to tame the monster it created by opening up the VET sector to private operators," Senator Rhiannon said.
"The expansion of competitive tendering and contestable funding for VET has led to a big increase in private companies competing for both local and lucrative full-fee paying international students.
"The government has attempted to fill skill shortages and power Australia's economic future using a new but flawed framework.
"The 'reforms' exposed the underbelly of the VET market.
"Students are being compelled to pay more and borrow to pay increased costs.
"The competitive tendering process allows price hikes by profit driven private providers which have entered the market to take advantage of money to be made.
"This bill is welcomed for its attempt to tighten up regulation, but it is akin to a mop brought out after a mess has been spilt," Senator Rhiannon said.