VET Student Loan Scheme should not come at the cost of arts courses

VET Student Loan Scheme should not come at the cost of arts courses

The VET Legislation has passed but the regulations are still to be finalised with art sector concerns flagged but yet to be addressed

The legislation enabling the new VET student loan scheme was passed on the last day of parliament for this year.

In an amendment put forward by Greens’ Senator Hanson Young the Senate gave recognition to the importance of the Australian arts industry and community by supporting greater representation to artistic and creative courses on the VET student loans eligible course list following an amendment to the VET.

“Cleaning up the dodgy rorting in the VET sector should not come at the cost of artscourses and education providers that were doing the right thing.Artists contribute so much to society and shouldn’t have to miss out on educationopportunities in the VET sector. Said Senator Hanson Young.

The Education Minister Simon Birmingham has meet with a range of arts representatives over the last few weeks and both NIDA and the Australian Ballet School gave evidence at the Senate inquiry on the value of vocational training in the development of artists for the professional sector.

However the Minister is yet to confirm if he will use the powers at his disposal to make exceptions or changes to the course eligibility list. After the legislation passed he did invite listed and not-for-profit vocational training providers to register additional courses that are not on the current course list for consideration. This could mean that students enrolled in courses that are not in themselves eligible, when provided by not-for-profit organisations may, at the Minister’s discretion, be able to access student loan support. This could address issues raised at NIDA, WAPPA and Adelaide Performing Arts School- but we will have to wait and see.

The impact on the students, the training institutions and over time the sector if support is not forthcoming is very problematic.

The finalised regulations are expected to be released by the end of this year.Commercial performing arts performance course providers, even with professional standing, do not appear to have any recourse this side of Christmas.A review of the regulations is expected to be launched by the Minister in February with those findings likely to lead to further changes mid 2017.

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