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Thursday, 12 February 2015
Page: 601


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for Education and Training) (12:37): Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a brief statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator BIRMINGHAM: Contrary to the impression given by this motion, the Australian government's support for vocational education and training is at record levels through funding to the states, running our programs and the provision of student loans. Support will soon surpass $6 billion per annum in total funding. Our government's focus on the VET sector is on quality jobs and status. Our aim is to deliver a high-quality training system that is focused on jobs and increasing productivity to create economic prosperity for Australia.

That is why our government has already introduced tougher standards, has established national complaints hotline, has properly funded the national regulator to fix Labor's poor system and is consulting with the sector on further measures to stamp out inappropriate practices and unscrupulous providers. Labor failed to introduce a dedicated compliance regime and failed to implement tougher standards for RTOs to ensure that people were not ripped off as students and taxpayers alike. Labor started contestability when they were in government. They did not put the right frameworks around it. We are determined to make sure that the open market works by having the right frameworks in place.

A division having been called and the bells being rung—

Senator Birmingham: Mr Deputy President, I am seeking leave to withdraw the request for a division.

Leave granted.

Question agreed to.