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Tuesday, 3 May 1994
Page: 106

(Question No. 1076)


Senator Bell asked the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, upon notice, on 22 February 1994:

  (1) How much has been paid by the Australian Government to refund overseas students accepted by Australian education institutions but refused entry visas.

  (2) How many students were involved and by what education institutions had they been accepted.

  (3) How much of this expenditure has been recovered from institutions and from which institutions.

  (4) How much is still outstanding, and from which institutions.

  (5) What action is currently in progress to recover outstanding amounts.


Senator Schacht —The Minister for Employment, Education and Training has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) From July 1990 to 31 January 1994, the Government has refunded $66.076 million to intending students who had prepaid fees to educational institutions but who, when unable to obtain entry visas, were not refunded those fees by the institutions. In return for acceptance of the refunds, students assigned their rights to recover that money from the institutions to the Commonwealth.

  (2) As at 31 January 1994, claims from 13,204 intending students off-shore had been processed. These students had been accepted by the following private educational institutions:

NSW

AIE Studies Centre

Alpha Beta Colleges

Aurora Colleges

Austalk Educational Services

Australian World College

(The) Australian Centre for Languages

Australian College of Business Management

Australian College of English

Australian International College of Education and Commerce

Australian TEFL College

Australian Training and Education Centres

Cambridge English Language Centre

Centre for Academic Excellence

Eliaus English College

Forward Australia International English College

Global School of Language-Business-Arts

Intensive English College

International College of Career Training

International House English College

Key International College

Lemaire English College of Australia

London College of English

National Business College

National English Academy

New Australian International English College

Oscar Wilde College of Knowledge formerly Receptionist Centre of NSW

Parkes Secretarial College

RMBA College

Speciality Language Centre

Sydney College of English

Universal English College

Universitas College

Wessex College

Woods English Colleges

Victoria

Academy of English in Australia

Australian College of Travel and Hospitality

Computeach College

Hales Colleges

Holmes Colleges

International College of English

LV International Business College

Melbourne Commercial College

Melbourne Learning Centre

Riddell Business College

Secretarial Diploma College

Stott's College of English

Swanston Business College

Victoria International College

Victorian College of English (International)

Queensland

Cairns Business College

Careers College

Key International College

Modern English Language College of Australia

Pacific School of English

Queensland College of English

South Pacific Education Centre

Western Australia

Australian Business College

Australian Business Educational Colleges

Buckland College

Edwards Colleges

Western Australian International College

WA Institute of Applied Linguistics

Australian Capital Territory

Australian National College of Business and English

  (3) Action for debt recovery was undertaken against the institutions on whose behalf the Commonwealth made refunds of prepaid fees. Of these institutions, 60% have closed with many in liquidation. With regard to the other 40%, the Commonwealth has either received repayment of the debt owed to the Commonwealth, entered into negotiated repayment agreements with the institutions or received a court judgement or court-sanctioned settlement in its favour.

  As at 31 January 1994, the Commonwealth has recovered $0.689 million from the Medibank refund of Overseas Student Health Cover and $3.289 million from the following institutions which have either fully or partly repaid their debt. Some of the negotiated settlements have instalments on the debt being repaid over a number of years.

NSW

AIE Studies Centre

Alpha Beta Colleges

Aurora Colleges

Austalk Educational Services

Australia World College

Australian College of English

Cambridge English Language Centre

Centre for Academic Excellence

Eliaus English College

Intensive English College

Lemaire English College of Australia

National English Academy

New Australian International English College

Speciality Language Centre

Sydney College of English

Universal English College

Victoria

Holmes Colleges

Melbourne Learning Centre

Stott's College of English

Victoria International College

Queensland

Cairns Business College

Modern English Language College of Australia

Pacific School of English

Queensland College of English

Western Australia

Australian Business College

Buckland College

Edwards Colleges

Western Australian International College

  (4) Where institutions are in liquidation, the amount the Commonwealth is likely to recoup will not be known until the liquidator is able to assess the companies' assets. Some debts have been written off but not waived. This means that, if a company which owes the Commonwealth money starts trading again, the Commonwealth legally can demand payment of the debt.

  The $62.098 million which has not yet been recovered can be itemised as follows:

  amount owed if pending court cases/liquidations are successful—$33.926 m

  amount to be paid under negotiated/court-sanctioned agreements—$1.091 m

  amount written off—$20.335 m

  amount to be written off—$6.746 m

  The following institutions have not paid either all or some of their debt owed to the Commonwealth.

NSW

AIE Studies Centre

Australian Centre for Languages

Australian College of Business Management

Australian International College of Education and Commerce

Australian TEFL College

Australian Training and Education Centres

Forward Australia International English College

Global School of Language Business Arts

International College of Career Training

International House English College (In Liquidation)

Key International College (In Liquidation)

London College of English (In Liquidation)

National Business College

Oscar Wilde College of Knowledge

Parkes Secretarial College

RMBA College

Universitas College

Wessex College

Woods English Colleges

Victoria

Academy of English in Australia

Australian College of Travel and Hospitality

Computeach College

Hales Colleges

International College of English

LV International Business College

Melbourne Commercial College

Riddell Business College

Secretarial Diploma College

Swanston Business College

Victorian College of English (International)

Queensland

Careers College

Key International College

South Pacific Education Centre

Western Australia

Australian Business Educational Colleges

WA Institute of Applied Linguistics

ACT

Australian National College of Business and English

  (5) As far as possible, the Commonwealth has recovered, or is recovering, the money paid as refunds to students either by the negotiation of repayment arrangements or by litigation where negotiations failed. Two appeals, to be heard in the Full Federal Court in May 1994, have been lodged against judgements in favour of the Commonwealth. Education Australia Pty Ltd (formerly Takama Holdings Pty Ltd) trading as Wessex College of English and Wessex College has lodged an appeal against the judgement awarded for $2.897 million. Mr Noel Ling trading as Australian TEFL Centre and Australian TEFL College and as RMBA College has lodged an appeal against judgements involving approximately $9.2 million.