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Education industry to bail out Government

Media Release 3 December 2003

Education industry to bail out Government

The Association of Private Providers of English Language (APPEL) is very concerned at the Government's decision today to introduce a new private education tax to bail out the Government. The legislative change is in the Education (Export Education Levy) Amendment Bill, introduced this afternoon, and includes a special export education tax on private training establishments (PTEs).

"This new export education levy gives the Government a blank cheque to charge the industry for any mistakes made by private businesses or government quality assurance agencies," said Cleve Brown, APPEL[1] Executive member (APPEL's chairperson, Patrick Ibbertson, is overseas).

"The Government controls entry to the industry, as only registered PTEs can enrol overseas students, so why should the industry pay if the Government's quality assurance systems don't work? The legal profession can control the entry and exit of lawyers but PTEs now face a considerable contingent liability over which they have no control."

"We thought that the decision to refund Modern Age students' accommodation costs was just a one-off reaction, but now we find that the Government is to institutionalise another tax on the private education sector. If any PTE fails, the government can not only refund any lost fees with other PTEs' money, but it can also charge any of the costs incurred by the government. These Government-incurred fees seem to be already spiralling and are subject to no accountability to the industry. "

"The Government's consultation on this process was a sham and at no time mentioned any legislative change. It is just another example of the slapdash way that the Government puts together its policy. It announced the payment to Modern Age students after refusing to consult with the PTE industry and then 3 months later it realises that it needs to change the law to carry out its goal."

The fact that the use of this year's levy was technically illegal and must now be validated by a new Act is hardly reassuring to the education industry."


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