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3       Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Bill 2015

Order of the day read for the adjourned debate on the motion of the Minister for Defence (Senator Payne)—That this bill be now read a second time— and on the amendment moved by Senator Carr :

At the end of the motion, add “but the Senate calls on the Government to:

                 (a)   appoint a National Vocational Education and Training Ombudsman who would have the power to investigate consumer complaints and order the refund of course fees where Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) have been found to act unscrupulously, either to the student directly or the Government, whichever is applicable, resulting in the student discharging any related VET FEE-HELP debt;

                 (b)   support the call for the Auditor General to conduct an audit on the use of VET FEE-HELP;

                 (c)   amend the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to impose caps on tuition fee amount similar to the student contribution caps for HECS-HELP;

                 (d)   reduce the lifetime loan limit for VET FEE-HELP to half the current amount;

                 (e)   ban or directly regulate brokers or marketing agents; and

                  (f)   provide the Department and the Minister with the necessary statutory powers to suspend VET FEE-HELP payments to providers which are under investigation”.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and passed.

Main question, as amended, put and passed.

Bill read a second time.

The Senate resolved itself into committee for the consideration of the bill.

 

 

 

In the committee

Bill taken as a whole by leave.

The Minister for Education and Training (Senator Birmingham) moved the following amendments and request for an amendment together by leave:

Amendments :

No. 1—Schedule  1 , page 3 (after line 6) , after item  1 , insert:

1A  At the end of section 137-18

Add:

     (5)   A person’s * VET FEE-HELP debt in relation to a * VET unit of study is taken to be remitted to the extent that the person’s * FEE-HELP balance is re-credited under clause 46B of Schedule 1A in relation to the unit.

No. 2—Schedule  1 , item  3 , page 3 (lines 9 to 20) , omit the item, substitute:

3  Paragraph 6(1)(c) of Schedule 1A

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                               (c)  the body is a * registered training organisation, as listed on the * National Register, that has been a registered training organisation since at least 1 January 2011; and

                            (ca)  the body has been offering:

                                                  (i)   at least one * qualifying VET course continuously since at least 1 January 2011; or

                                                 (ii)   one or more series of qualifying VET courses since at least 1 January 2011, with each course in a series superseding the other without interruption; and

No. 3—Schedule  1 , page 3 (after line 22) , after item  4 , insert:

4A  After paragraph 6(1A)(d) of Schedule 1A

Insert:

                            (da)  the body has been offering:

                                                  (i)   at least one * qualifying VET course continuously since at least 1 January 2011; or

                                                 (ii)   one or more series of qualifying VET courses since at least 1 January 2011, with each course in a series superseding the other without interruption; and

4B  After subclause 6(2) of Schedule 1A

Insert:

  (2A)   For the purposes of (but without limiting) paragraph (1)(g) or (1A)(i), the requirements set out in the * VET Guidelines can include requirements relating to a body’s capacity to satisfactorily and sustainably provide * VET courses of study.

Note:         These requirements could, for example, relate to the stability of the body’s ownership and management, its experience, its business relationships with particular kinds of educational institutions and its record in providing quality student outcomes.

No. 4—Schedule  1 , item  7 , page 5 (lines 2 to 4) , omit subclause  23B ( 4 ), substitute:

     (4)   For the purposes of subclause (3), the * VET Guidelines may empower:

                              (a)  a person or body:

                                                  (i)   to decide whether to approve a particular tool for use when assessing whether a student is academically suited to undertake a * VET course of study; and

                                                 (ii)   to charge a fee for making such a decision; and

                              (b)  a person or body to charge a fee for the use of a tool for such an assessment.

A fee so charged must not be such as to amount to taxation.

No. 5—Schedule  1 , page 6 (after line 2) , after item  7 , insert:

7A  Subclause 26(1) of Schedule 1A

Repeal the subclause, substitute:

     (1)   The Minister may require a * VET provider to be audited:

                              (a)  about compliance with any or all of the following requirements:

                                                  (i)   the * VET financial viability requirements;

                                                 (ii)   the * VET fairness requirements;

                                                (iii)   the * VET compliance requirements;

                                                (iv)   the * VET fee requirements;

                                                 (v)   other requirements for VET quality and accountability set out in the * VET Guidelines; or

                              (b)  about any or all of the following matters relating to * VET courses of study provided by the VET provider:

                                                  (i)   the approaches used to recruit or enrol students (or potential students) of those courses who receive (or who could receive) * VET FEE-HELP assistance for * VET units of study forming part of those courses;

                                                 (ii)   the veracity of enrolments in those courses of students who receive VET FEE-HELP assistance for VET units of study forming part of those courses;

                                                (iii)   the level of teaching resources, or the quality of those resources, for any of those courses;

                                                (iv)   the level of engagement in any of those courses of students who receive VET FEE-HELP assistance for VET units of study forming part of those courses;

                                                 (v)   the completion rates for any of those courses of students who receive VET FEE-HELP assistance for VET units of study forming part of those courses.

No. 6—Schedule  1 , page 6 (after line 4) , after item  8 , insert:

8A  Before subclause 36(1) of Schedule 1A

Insert:

Suspension pending revocation

8B  At the end of clause 36 of Schedule 1A

Add:

Suspension for poor performance

     (5)   The * Secretary may, in writing, suspend a body’s approval as a * VET provider if:

                              (a)  an audit of the body has been conducted about any or all of the matters in paragraph 26(1)(b); and

                              (b)  the audit identified one or more concerns; and

                               (c)  those concerns have yet to be resolved as described in paragraph (6)(b).

     (6)   The suspension:

                              (a)  starts on the day of the decision under subclause (5); and

                              (b)  ends on the day (if any) that the * Secretary notifies the body, in writing, that the Secretary reasonably believes that those concerns have been satisfactorily resolved by the body in accordance with a plan agreed between the body and the Commonwealth.

     (7)   Before making a decision under subclause (5), the * Secretary must give the body a notice in writing:

                              (a)  stating that the Secretary is considering making the decision; and

                              (b)  stating the reasons why the Secretary is considering making the decision; and

                               (c)  inviting the body to respond to the Secretary, in writing, within 14 days; and

                              (d)  informing the body that, if no response is received within the 14 day period, the Secretary may proceed to make the decision.

     (8)   In deciding whether to make the decision under subclause (5), the * Secretary must consider any response received from the body within the 14 day period.

     (9)   The * Secretary must give written notice of a decision under subclause (5) to the body. The notice must be given within 14 days after the day the decision was made.

8C  Before subclause 37(1) of Schedule 1A

Insert:

Suspension pending revocation

8D  Subclause 37(1) of Schedule 1A

Omit “clause 36 is of no effect for the purposes of”, substitute “subclause 36(1) is of no effect for purposes of or relating to”.

8E  At the end of clause 37 of Schedule 1A

Add:

Suspension for poor performance—no impact on existing students

     (6)   A suspension of a body’s approval as a * VET provider under subclause 36(5) is of no effect for purposes of or relating to assistance payable to the body’s students under Part 2 to the extent that the assistance relates to students of the body who have not completed the * VET courses of study in which they were enrolled with the body before the day the suspension starts (see paragraph 36(6)(a)).

Note:         One consequence of this subclause is that clauses 45E and 46B (which apply if the body’s VET FEE-HELP account is in deficit at the end of a calendar year) will continue to apply to the body during the suspension.

No. 7—Schedule  1 , page 6 (before line 5) , before item 9, insert:

8F  Subclause 39(1) of Schedule 1A

Omit “may revoke”, substitute “must revoke”.

8G  After subclause 39(2) of Schedule 1A

Insert:

  (2A)   The revocation is subject to the condition that, after the revocation:

                              (a)  clauses 45E and 46B continue to apply to the body as if the body were still approved as a * VET provider; and

                              (b)  other provisions of this Act, or the * VET Guidelines, that:

                                                  (i)   relate (directly or indirectly) to entitlements to * VET FEE-HELP assistance arising before the revocation; and

                                                 (ii)   are specified in the notice of revocation under subclause (3) of this clause;

                                      continue to apply to the body as if the body were still approved as a VET provider.

No. 8—Schedule  1 , page 6 (after line 12) , after item  10 , insert:

10A  After paragraph 43(1)(f) of Schedule 1A

Insert:

                             (fa)  in a case where the student is not already entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance for another VET unit of study forming part of the course—the body with whom the student is enrolled is approved as a * VET provider:

                                                  (i)   for the day of the enrolment; or

                                                 (ii)   if that day falls within a period when the body’s approval as a VET provider is suspended under subclause 36(5)—for a later day because that suspension has ended; and

No. 9—Schedule  1 , page 6 (before line 13) , before item 11, insert:

10B  Before paragraph 43(1)(g) of Schedule 1A

Insert:

                             (fb)  if the VET provider was approved as a VET provider after 2015, the course is:

                                                  (i)   one of the * qualifying VET courses that enabled paragraph 6(1)(ca) or (1A)(da) to be satisfied for the purposes of that approval; or

                                                 (ii)   a qualifying VET course that superseded such a course directly or indirectly without interruption; and

No. 10—Schedule  1 , page 6 (after line 16) , after item  11 , insert:

11A  Subclause 43(1) of Schedule 1A (note)

Repeal the note, substitute:

Note 1:      For the purposes of paragraph (e), clause 45A affects whether a person undertakes a VET unit of study as part of a VET course of study.

Note 2:      For the purposes of paragraph (fa), a body’s approval as a VET provider ceases while the approval is suspended (see clause 29). If this approval is suspended when the student first enrols in units forming part of the course, the student can only become entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance when that suspension ends.

No. 11—Schedule 1 , item 12 , page 7 (after line 8) , after paragraph 45C ( 1 )( b ), insert:

                            (ba)  if the student enrols in the course after the day the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Act 2015 receives the Royal Assent—the student being entitled to the VET FEE-HELP assistance for the unit:

                                                  (i)   would not cause the VET provider’s * VET FEE-HELP account to be in deficit at the end of that census date (see subclause 45D(7)); and

                                                 (ii)   would not cause or contribute to that account being in deficit at the end of 2016 or a later calendar year; and

No. 12—Schedule 1 , item 12 , page 7 (lines 11 to 24) , omit subclause 45C ( 2 ), substitute:

If VET provider incorrectly treats student as being entitled

     (2)   However, for the purposes of this Act (other than clause 39DH), if:

                              (a)  either or both of the following things happen:

                                                  (i)   the student fails to comply with paragraph (1)(a) of this clause by not giving the request at least 2 business days after the enrolment referred to in that paragraph;

                                                 (ii)   paragraph (1)(ba) of this clause is not complied with; and

                              (b)  the * VET provider treats the student as being entitled to * VET FEE-HELP assistance for the unit;

those paragraphs of this clause are taken to have been complied with.

Note 1:      The VET provider should not treat the student as being entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance:

(a)   if the student requests the assistance during the 2 business day cooling-off period after the enrolment; or

(b)   if being entitled would cause or contribute to the provider’s VET FEE-HELP account being in deficit.

Note 2:      However, if the provider does treat the student as being entitled, the provider will contravene subclause 39DH(1) (a civil penalty provision), and the student may still be able to receive the assistance.

No. 13—Schedule  1 , item  12 , page 7 (after line 24) , after clause  45C , insert:

45D   Notional VET FEE-HELP accounts

     (1)   There is a notional VET FEE-HELP account for each * VET provider.

Note 1:      The VET provider will need to monitor the balance of its account, as it will have to repay an amount to the Commonwealth if the account is in deficit at the end of 2016 or a later year.

Note 2:      This account applies in relation to all students entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance for VET units of study with census dates on or after 1 January 2016 (whether or not the student received VET FEE-HELP assistance for earlier units before that day). See subclause (7).

Credits to the VET provider’s VET FEE-HELP account

     (2)   A credit arises in the * VET provider’s * VET FEE-HELP account as follows:

                              (a)  if the VET provider is already a VET provider on 1 January 2015, a credit arises on the first day of each later calendar year that is equal to the amount worked out under subclause (3);

                              (b)  if the VET provider becomes a VET provider during 2015, a credit arises on the first day of each later calendar year that is equal to the amount worked out under subclause (4);

                               (c)  if the VET provider becomes a VET provider on a day after 2015, a credit arises on that day that is equal to the amount worked out under subclause (5);

                              (d)  if the VET provider pays on a particular day any part of any amount that becomes due under subclause 45E(2), a credit arises on that day that is equal to the amount of that payment;

                               (e)  if another body ceases to be a VET provider, a credit may arise in accordance with a determination under subclause (6).

A credit that arises as described in paragraph (e) arises at the time of the cessation, and is equal to the amount worked out under that determination.

     (3)   For the purposes of paragraph (2)(a), the amount to be credited is the amount equal to:

 

 

where:

VET provider’s adjusted 2015 total loan amount means the sum of the amounts of * VET FEE-HELP assistance paid for students undertaking, with the * VET provider, * VET units of study that had * census dates during the period starting on 1 January 2015 and ending on 31 August 2015.

     (4)   For the purposes of paragraph (2)(b), the amount to be credited is the amount equal to the sum of:

                              (a)  the * VET provider’s fee revenue for the period:

                                                  (i)   starting on 1 January 2015; and

                                                 (ii)   ending on the day before the VET provider was approved as a VET provider;

                                      for * domestic students undertaking * qualifying VET courses in that period; and

                              (b)  the sum of the amounts of * VET FEE-HELP assistance paid for students undertaking, with the VET provider, * VET units of study that had * census dates during 2015.

     (5)   For the purposes of paragraph (2)(c), the amount to be credited is the amount equal to the * VET provider’s fee revenue for the 2015 calendar year for * domestic students undertaking in that year the * qualifying VET courses that enabled paragraph 6(1)(ca) or (1A)(da) to be satisfied for the purposes of the VET provider’s approval as a VET provider.

     (6)   The Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine:

                              (a)  whether credits arise in the * VET FEE-HELP accounts of specified * VET providers when another body ceases to be a VET provider; and

                              (b)  the amounts of such credits.

Debits to the VET FEE-HELP account

     (7)   A debit arises in the * VET provider’s * VET FEE-HELP account if a student is entitled to * VET FEE-HELP assistance for a * VET unit of study:

                              (a)  that is to be undertaken with the VET provider; and

                              (b)  that has a * census date on or after 1 January 2016.

The debit arises at the end of that census date, and is equal to the amount of that assistance.

45E   Effect of VET FEE-HELP account being in deficit at the end of a calendar year

     (1)   If:

                              (a)  a * VET provider’s * VET FEE-HELP account is in deficit at the end of a calendar year; and

                              (b)  the * Secretary gives the VET provider a written notice about the deficit;

the VET provider must pay to the Commonwealth an amount equal to the amount of the deficit (the excess loan amount ).

     (2)   The excess loan amount is due on the seventh day (the due day ) after the day the notice is given.

Late payments of the excess loan amount attract the general interest charge

     (3)   If some or all of the excess loan amount remains unpaid after the due day, the * VET provider must pay to the Commonwealth an amount (the general interest charge ) relating to the unpaid amount for each day in the period that:

                              (a)  starts at the beginning of the day after the due day; and

                              (b)  ends at the end of the last day on which, at the end of the day, any of the following remains unpaid:

                                                  (i)   the excess loan amount;

                                                 (ii)   general interest charge on any of the excess loan amount.

     (4)   The general interest charge for a particular day is worked out by multiplying the * general interest charge rate for that day by the sum of so much of the following amounts as remains unpaid:

                              (a)  the general interest charge from previous days;

                              (b)  the excess loan amount.

     (5)   The general interest charge for a day is due and payable to the Commonwealth at the end of that day.

     (6)   The * Secretary may give written notice to the * VET provider of the amount of the general interest charge for a particular day or days. A notice given under this subclause is prima facie evidence of the matters stated in the notice.

     (7)   The * Secretary may remit all or a part of the general interest charge payable by the * VET provider if the Secretary is satisfied:

                              (a)  that:

                                                  (i)   the circumstances that contributed to the delay in payment were not due to, or caused directly or indirectly by, an act or omission of the VET provider; and

                                                 (ii)   the VET provider has taken reasonable action to mitigate, or mitigate the effects of, those circumstances; or

                              (b)  that it is otherwise appropriate to do so.

     (8)   An amount payable under this clause may be recovered by the Commonwealth from the * VET provider as a debt due to the Commonwealth.

No. 14—Schedule  1 , page 9 (after line 30) , after item  15 , insert:

15A  Clause 60 of Schedule 1A

Repeal the clause, substitute:

60   Time and manner of payments

     (1)   Amounts payable by the Commonwealth to a * VET provider under this Schedule are to be paid in accordance with an applicable determination under subclause (2) or (3).

     (2)   The Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine the way (including payment in instalments or in arrears), and the times when, amounts payable by the Commonwealth under this Schedule are to be paid to specified kinds of * VET providers.

     (3)   The Minister may, in writing, determine the way (including payment in instalments or in arrears), and the times when, amounts payable by the Commonwealth under this Schedule are to be paid to a particular * VET provider.

     (4)   A determination under subclause (3) is not a legislative instrument.

No. 15—Schedule  1 , page 10 (after line 25) , after item  20 , insert:

20A  Clause 91 of Schedule 1A (after table item 1B)

Insert:

1C

A decision to suspend a body’s approval as a * VET provider

subclause 36(5)

the * Secretary

1D

A decision that concerns have not been satisfactorily resolved in accordance with a plan agreed with the Commonwealth

paragraph 36(6)(b)

the * Secretary

1E

Refusal to remit the general interest charge

subclause 45E(7)

the * Secretary

1F

Remitting part of the general interest charge

subclause 45E(7)

the * Secretary

No. 16—Schedule  1 , page 11 (before line 1) , before item  22 , insert:

21A  Before clause 98 of Schedule 1A

Insert:

97A   Compensation for acquisition of property

     (1)   If the operation of this Schedule would result in an acquisition of property from a person otherwise than on just terms, the Commonwealth is liable to pay a reasonable amount of compensation to the person.

     (2)   If the Commonwealth and the person do not agree on the amount of the compensation, the person may institute proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction for the recovery from the Commonwealth of such reasonable amount of compensation as the court determines.

     (3)   In this clause:

acquisition of property has the same meaning as in paragraph 51(xxxi) of the Constitution.

just terms has the same meaning as in paragraph 51(xxxi) of the Constitution.

No. 17—Schedule 1 , item 22 , page 11 (before line 3) , before the definition of responsible parent , insert:

general interest charge rate has the same meaning as in section 8AAD of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 .

qualifying VET course means a structured and integrated program of vocational education or vocational training, usually consisting of a number of modules (units of study) or shorter programs, and leading to the award of a * VET diploma, * VET advanced diploma, * VET graduate diploma or * VET graduate certificate.

No. 18—Schedule 1 , item 22 , page 11 (after line 9) , after the definition of student entry procedure , insert:

VET FEE-HELP account has the meaning given by clause 45D of Schedule 1A.

No. 19—Schedule 1 , item 24 , page 11 (lines 13 to 16) , omit subitem ( 1 ), substitute:

(1)              The amendments of clause 6 of Schedule 1A to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 made by this Schedule apply in relation to decisions whether to approve bodies as VET providers made on or after 1 January 2016.

No. 20—Schedule  1 , item  24 , page 11 (after line 23) , after subitem ( 3 ), insert:

(3A)           Paragraph 26(1)(b) of Schedule 1A to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (as inserted by this Schedule) applies to matters happening before, on or after 1 January 2016, to the extent that those matters are relevant to VET courses of study provided wholly or partly on or after 1 January 2016.

Example:    When auditing a VET provider about a 2016 VET course of study, the audit could look at:

(a)   any approaches used in 2015 for recruiting students to the 2016 course; or

(b)   teaching resources, student engagement or completion rates for the corresponding course provided in 2015.

(3B)           The amendments made by this Schedule of clause 39 of Schedule 1A to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 apply in relation to requests for revocation made on or after 1 January 2016.

No. 21—Schedule  1 , item  24 , page 12 (after line 2) , after subitem ( 6 ), insert:

(6A)           Subclause 45E(1) of Schedule 1A to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (as inserted by this Schedule) applies in relation to the 2016 calendar year and later calendar years.

No. 22—Schedule  1 , item  24 , page 12 (after line 5) , at the end of the item, add:

(8)              Clause 51A of Schedule 1A to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (as inserted by this Schedule) applies in relation to the re-crediting of FEE-HELP balances on or after 1 July 2016.

(9)              Clause 60 of Schedule 1A to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (as inserted by this Schedule) applies in relation to amounts payable on or after 1 January 2016.

No. 23—Schedule  1 , Part  1 , page 12 (after line 5) , at the end of the Part, add:

24A  Transitional—pending applications

For the purposes of subclause 11(3) of Schedule 1A to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 , any period referred to in that subclause that was underway on 2 December 2015 is taken to have paused at the end of that day until the end of 21 January 2016.

No. 24— Schedule  1 , item  26 , page 23 (lines 22 and 23) , omit “ an APS employee in the Department ”, substitute “ a person ”.

Request :

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment:

Schedule  1 , page 9 (before line 28) , before item  15 , insert:

14A  Before clause 47 of Schedule 1A

Insert:

46B   Re-crediting a person’s FEE-HELP balance—VET FEE-HELP account in deficit at the end of a calendar year

Main case

     (1)   A * VET provider must, on the * Secretary’s behalf, re-credit a student’s * FEE-HELP balance with an amount if:

                              (a)  the student receives * VET FEE-HELP assistance in a calendar year for a * VET unit of study undertaken with the VET provider; and

                              (b)  under subclause 45E(1), the Secretary notifies the VET provider that the VET provider’s * VET FEE-HELP account was in deficit at the end of the calendar year; and

                               (c)  the VET provider reasonably believes that some or all of that assistance caused or contributed to the deficit.

     (2)   The amount to be re-credited is equal to so much of that assistance as the * VET provider reasonably believes caused or contributed to the deficit.

Note:         A corresponding amount of the student’s VET FEE-HELP debt relating to the unit will be remitted (see section 137-18).

     (3)   The * Secretary may re-credit the student’s * FEE-HELP balance under this subclause if:

                              (a)  the * VET provider is unable to do so under subclauses (1) and (2); and

                              (b)  the Secretary knows how much of that assistance that the VET provider reasonably believes caused or contributed to the deficit.

If not all of the deficit can be re-credited under subclauses (1) and (3)

     (4)   If the deficit exceeds the total amount able to be re-credited under subclauses (1) and (3) for all of the * VET provider’s students who received * VET FEE-HELP assistance in the calendar year for * VET units of study undertaken with the VET provider, the * Secretary may re-credit the * FEE-HELP balance of each of those students with the amount equal to:

where:

student’s percentage of the total assistance means the percentage equal to the percentage that the student’s * VET FEE-HELP assistance referred to in paragraph (1)(a) is of the total VET FEE-HELP assistance received by students of the * VET provider in the calendar year for * VET units of study undertaken with the VET provider.

14B  At the end of Subdivision 7-B of Schedule 1A

Add:

51A   Implications for the student’s liability to the VET provider for the VET tuition fee

             If a student’s * FEE-HELP balance is re-credited in accordance with this Subdivision with an amount for a * VET unit of study, the student is discharged from all liability to pay or account for so much of the student’s * VET tuition fee for the unit as is equal to that amount.

 

 

 

Explanatory memorandum : Senator Birmingham tabled a supplementary explanatory memorandum relating to the government amendments and request for an amendment to be moved to the bill.

 

 

 

Debate ensued.

Senator Lazarus, also on behalf of Senator Muir, moved the following amendment to Senator Birmingham’s proposed amendment no. 13:

Omit proposed subsection 45D(2), substitute:

Credits to the VET provider’s VET FEE-HELP account

     (2)   A credit arises in the * VET provider’s * VET FEE-HELP account as follows:

                              (a)  if the VET provider is already a VET provider on 1 January 2015, a credit arises on the first day of each later calendar year that is equal to the amount worked out under subclause (3);

                              (b)  if the VET provider becomes a VET provider during 2015, a credit arises on the first day of each later calendar year that is equal to the amount worked out under subclause (4);

                               (c)  if the VET provider becomes a VET provider on a day after 2015, a credit arises on that day that is equal to the amount worked out under subclause (5);

                              (d)  if the VET provider pays on a particular day any part of any amount that becomes due under subclause 45E(2), a credit arises on that day that is equal to the amount of that payment;

                               (e)  if another body ceases to be a VET provider, a credit may arise:

                                                  (i)   in accordance with a determination under subclause (6) at the time of the cessation; and

                                                 (ii)   that is equal to the amount worked out under that determination;

                               (f)  if the * Secretary, on application by the VET provider, is satisfied on a particular day that:

                                                  (i)   the VET provider is offering a VET course of study that confers skills in an identified area of national importance; and

                                                 (ii)   the course is relevant for employment in a licensed occupation; and

                                                (iii)   one or more students are unable to readily access training places in courses of this kind with any other VET provider; and

                                                (iv)   insufficient credits have arisen in the VET provider’s VET FEE-HELP account for an appropriate number of students to undertake the course with the VET provider; and

                                                 (v)   granting an extra credit of a particular amount is appropriate (which need not be the amount specified in the application);

                                     the Secretary may grant a credit, which arises on that day, that is equal to the amount considered appropriate under subparagraph (v).

Debate ensued.

Question—That the amendment to Senator Birmingham’s proposed amendment be agreed to—put.

The committee divided—

AYES, 37

Senators—

Abetz

Fawcett (Teller)

Macdonald

Ronaldson

Back

Fierravanti-Wells

Madigan

Ryan

Bernardi

Fifield

McGrath

Scullion

Birmingham

Heffernan

McKenzie

Seselja

Bushby

Johnston

Muir

Sinodinos

Canavan

Lambie

Nash

Smith

Cash

Lazarus

Parry

Wang

Colbeck

Leyonhjelm

Payne

Williams

Day

Lindgren

Reynolds

Xenophon

Edwards

 

 

 

NOES, 31

Senators—

Bilyk (Teller)

Gallacher

McAllister

Rhiannon

Brown

Gallagher

McEwen

Rice

Bullock

Hanson-Young

McKim

Siewert

Cameron

Ketter

McLucas

Simms

Carr

Lines

Moore

Singh

Collins

Ludlam

O’Neill

Urquhart

Dastyari

Ludwig

Peris

Whish-Wilson

Di Natale

Marshall

Polley

 

 

 

Question agreed to.

Amendments and request further debated.

On the motion of Senator Lazarus, also on behalf of Senator Muir, the following amendment to Senator Birmingham’s proposed amendment no. 15 was agreed to:

Omit proposed item 20A, substitute:

20A  Clause 91 of Schedule 1A (after table item 1B)

Insert:

1C

A decision to suspend a body’s approval as a * VET provider

subclause 36(5)

the * Secretary

1D

A decision that concerns have not been satisfactorily resolved in accordance with a plan agreed with the Commonwealth

paragraph 36(6)(b)

the * Secretary

1E

Refusal to grant a credit for a * VET provider’s * VET FEE-HELP account

paragraph 45D(2)(f)

the * Secretary

1F

Granting a credit for a * VET provider’s * VET FEE-HELP account

paragraph 45D(2)(f)

the * Secretary

1G

Refusal to remit the general interest charge

subclause 45E(7)

the * Secretary

1H

Remit ting part of the general interest charge

subclause 45E(7)

the * Secretary

Question—That amendments nos 13 and 15, as amended, and the remaining amendments and request be agreed to—put and passed.

Senator Carr moved the following amendment:

Page 31 (after line 26), at the end of the bill, add:

Schedule 3 VET FEE-HELP loan limit

Higher Education Support Act 2003

1  Subdivision 104-B (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

Subdivision 104-B-FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP balances

2  Sections 104-15 and 104-20

Repeal the sections, substitute:

104-15   A person’s FEE-HELP balance or VET FEE-HELP balance

FEE-HELP balance

     (1)   A person’s FEE-HELP balance at a particular time is:

                              (a)  if the * FEE -HELP limit in relation to the person at the time exceeds the sum of all of the amounts of * FEE-HELP assistance that have previously been payable to the person, being that sum as reduced by any amounts previously re-credited under this Subdivision—that excess; and

                              (b)  otherwise—zero.

Note:         If an amount is to be re-credited to a FEE-HELP balance, the balance that is to be re-credited is worked out immediately before that re-crediting. The balance is worked out after the re-crediting by taking account of the amount re-credited. If a person’s FEE-HELP limit has been reduced, the balance might not increase, or might not increase by the same amount as the amount re-credited.

     (2)   To avoid doubt, the sum referred to in paragraph (1)(a) includes amounts of * FEE-HELP assistance that have been repaid.

VET FEE-HELP balance

     (3)   A person’s VET FEE-HELP balance at a particular time is:

                              (a)  if the * FEE-HELP limit in relation to the person at the time exceeds the sum of all of the amounts of * VET FEE-HELP assistance that have previously been payable to the person, being that sum as reduced by any amounts previously re-credited under Subdivision 7-B of Schedule 1A—that excess; and

                              (b)  otherwise—zero.

Note:         If an amount is to be re-credited to a VET FEE-HELP balance, the balance that is to be re-credited is worked out immediately before that re-crediting. The balance is worked out after the re-crediting by taking account of the amount re-credited. If a person’s FEE-HELP limit has been reduced, the balance might not increase, or might not increase by the same amount as the amount re-credited.

     (4)   To avoid doubt, the sum referred to in paragraph (3)(a) includes amounts of * FEE-HELP assistance that have been repaid.

104-20   The FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP limits

     (1)   The FEE-HELP limit is:

                              (a)  $97,728;

                              (b)  in relation to a person who is enrolled in a * course of study in medicine, a * course of study in dentistry or a * course of study in veterinary science, while the person is enrolled in that course—$122,162.

Note 1:      A person is entitled to receive both FEE-HELP assistance and VET FEE-HELP assistance up to the relevant FEE-HELP limit.

Note 2:      The FEE-HELP limit is indexed under Part 5-6.

     (2)   The VET FEE-HELP limit is $48,864.

Note 1:      A person is entitled to receive both FEE-HELP assistance and VET FEE-HELP assistance up to the relevant FEE-HELP limit.

Note 2:      The VET FEE-HELP limit is indexed under Part 5-6.

3  Section 107-10

Repeal the section, substitute:

107-10   Amounts of FEE-HELP assistance must not exceed the FEE-HELP balance

Amount of FEE-HELP assistance for one unit

     (1)   The amount of * FEE-HELP assistance to which a student is entitled for a unit of study is an amount equal to the student’s * FEE-HELP balance on the * census date for the unit if:

                              (a)  there is no other unit of study, with the same census date, for which the student is entitled to FEE-HELP assistance; or

                              (b)  the amount of FEE-HELP assistance to which the student would be entitled under section 107-1 for the unit would exceed that FEE-HELP balance.

Amount of FEE-HELP assistance for more than one unit

     (2)   If the sum of:

                              (a)  the amount of * FEE-HELP assistance to which a student would be entitled under section 107-1 for a unit of study; and

                              (b)  any other amounts of FEE-HELP assistance to which the student would be entitled under that section for other units that have the same * census date as that unit; and

would exceed the student’s * FEE-HELP balance on the census date for the unit, then, despite subsection (1) of this section, the total amount of FEE-HELP assistance to which the student is entitled for all of those units is an amount equal to that FEE-HELP balance.

Example:   Kath has a FEE-HELP balance of $2,000, and is enrolled in 4 units with the same census date. Kath’s tuition fee for each unit is $600. The total amount of FEE-HELP assistance to which Kath is entitled for the units is $2,000, even though the total amount of her tuition fees for the units is $2,400.

     (3)   If the student has enrolled in the units with more than one higher education provider and access to none of the units was provided by * Open Universities Australia, the student must notify each provider of the proportion of the total amount of * FEE-HELP assistance that is to be payable in relation to the units in which the student has enrolled with that provider.

     (4)   If access to some, but not all, of the units of study was provided by * Open Universities Australia, the student must:

                              (a)  notify Open Universities Australia of the proportion of the total amount of * FEE-HELP assistance that is to be payable in relation to units access to which was provided by Open Universities Australia; and

                              (b)  notify each higher education provider at which the student is enrolled in a unit, access to which was not provided by Open Universities Australia, of the proportion of the total amount of FEE-HELP assistance that is to be payable in relation to that unit.

4  Subsection 137-18(4)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

Remission of VET FEE-HELP debts

     (4)   A person’s * VET FEE-HELP debt in relation to a * VET unit of study is taken to be remit ted if the person’s * FEE-HELP balance is re-credited under clause 46, 47 or 51 of Schedule 1A in relation to the unit.

Note:         The debt is taken to be remit ted even if the person’s VET FEE-HELP balance is not increased by an amount equal to the amount re-credited.

5  Subsection 198-5 (table item 4)

Repeal the table item, substitute:

4

The * FEE-HELP limit

Subsection 104-20(1)

4A

The * VET FEE-HELP limit

Subsection 104-20(2)

6  Paragraph 43(1)(b) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

7  Subdivision 7-B of Schedule 1A (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

Subdivision 7-B VET FEE-HELP balances

8  Clause 46 of Schedule 1A (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

46   Main case of re-crediting a person’s VET FEE-HELP balance

9  Subclause 46(1) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

10  Subclause 46(1) of Schedule 1A (note)

Repeal the note, substitute:

Note:         For VET FEE-HELP balance , see section 104-15, and for VET FEE-HELP limit , see section 104-20.

11  Subclause 46(2) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

12  Paragraph 46(2)(d) of Schedule 1A

Omit “FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “VET FEE-HELP balance”.

13  Subclause 46(2) of Schedule 1A (note)

Omit “FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “VET FEE-HELP balance”.

14  Clause 47 of Schedule 1A (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

47   Re-crediting a person’s VET FEE-HELP balance—no tax file number

15  Subclause 47(1) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

16  Subclause 47(1) of Schedule 1A (note)

Omit “FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “VET FEE-HELP balance”.

17  Subclause 47(2) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

18  Paragraph 49(1)(a) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

19  Clause 51 of Schedule 1A (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

51   Re-crediting a person’s VET FEE-HELP balance if provider ceases to provide course of which unit forms part

20  Subclause 51(1) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

21  Subclause 51(1) of Schedule 1A (note)

Omit “FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “VET FEE-HELP balance”.

22  Subclause 51(2) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

23  Clause 54 of Schedule 1A

Repeal the clause, substitute:

54   Amounts of VET FEE-HELP assistance must not exceed the VET FEE-HELP balance

Amount of VET FEE-HELP assistance for one unit

     (1)   The amount of * VET FEE-HELP assistance to which a student is entitled for a * VET unit of study is an amount equal to the student’s * VET FEE-HELP balance on the * census date for the unit if:

                              (a)  there is no other VET unit of study, with the same census date, for which the student is entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance; and

                              (b)  the amount of VET FEE-HELP assistance to which the student would be entitled under clause 52 for the unit would exceed that VET FEE-HELP balance.

Amount of VET FEE-HELP assistance for more than one unit

     (2)   If the sum of:

                              (a)  the amount of * VET FEE-HELP assistance to which a student would be entitled under clause 52 for a * VET unit of study; and

                              (b)  any other amounts of VET FEE-HELP assistance to which the student would be entitled under that clause for other units that have the same * census date as that unit;

would exceed the student’s * VET FEE-HELP balance on the census date for the unit, then, despite subclause (1) of this clause, the total amount of VET FEE-HELP assistance to which the student is entitled for all of those units is an amount equal to that VET FEE-HELP balance.

Example:   Kath has a VET FEE-HELP balance of $2,000, and is enrolled in 4 units with the same census date. Kath’s VET tuition fee for each unit is $600. The total amount of VET FEE-HELP assistance to which Kath is entitled for the units is $2,000, even though the total amount of her VET tuition fees for the units is $2,400.

     (3)   If the student has enrolled in the units with more than one * VET provider, the student must notify each provider of the proportion of the total amount of * VET FEE-HELP assistance that is to be payable in relation to the units in which the student has enrolled with that provider.

24  Clause 56 of Schedule 1A (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

56   Effect of VET FEE-HELP balance being re-credited

25  Subclause 56(1) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

26  Subclause 56(1) of Schedule 1A (note)

Omit “FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “VET FEE-HELP balance”.

27  Paragraph 56(2)(a) of Schedule 1A

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                              (a)  the person’s * VET FEE-HELP balance was re-credited under subclause 46(2) (main case of re-crediting a person’s VET FEE-HELP balance); and

28  Subclause 56(3) of Schedule 1A

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “ * VET FEE-HELP balance”.

29  Subclause 89(1) of Schedule 1A (note)

Omit “FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “VET FEE-HELP balance”.

30  Clause 92 of Schedule 1A (table item 1)

Omit “ * FEE-HELP balance”, substitute “VET FEE-HELP balance”.

31  Subclause 1(1) of Schedule 1 (definition of FEE-HELP balance )

Omit “section 104-15”, substitute “subsection 104-15(1)”.

32  Subclause 1(1) of Schedule 1 (definition of FEE-HELP limit )

Omit “section 104-20”, substitute “subsection 104-20(1)”.

33  Subclause 1(1) of Schedule 1

Insert:

VET FEE-HELP balance has the meaning given by subsection 104-15(3).

VET FEE-HELP limit has the meaning given by subsection 104-20(2).

Debate ensued.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put.

The committee divided—

AYES, 34

Senators—

Bilyk (Teller)

Gallagher

McAllister

Rhiannon

Brown

Hanson-Young

McEwen

Rice

Bullock

Ketter

McKim

Siewert

Carr

Lambie

McLucas

Simms

Collins

Lines

Moore

Singh

Conroy

Ludlam

O’Neill

Urquhart

Dastyari

Ludwig

Peris

Whish-Wilson

Di Natale

Madigan

Polley

Xenophon

Gallacher

Marshall

 

 

 

NOES, 34

Senators—

Abetz

Day

McGrath

Ruston

Back

Fawcett

McKenzie

Ryan

Bernardi

Fifield

Muir

Scullion

Birmingham

Heffernan

Nash

Seselja

Bushby

Johnston

Parry

Sinodinos

Canavan (Teller)

Lazarus

Payne

Smith

Cash

Leyonhjelm

Reynolds

Wang

Colbeck

Lindgren

Ronaldson

Williams

Cormann

Macdonald

 

 

 

The ayes and noes were equal and so the question was negatived.

Bill, as amended, agreed to, subject to a request.

Bill to be reported with amendments and a request for an amendment.

 

 

 

The President resumed the chair and the Chair of Committees (Senator Marshall) reported accordingly.

On the motion of Senator Birmingham the report from the committee was adopted.