Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien says he’ll seek answers.
Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien says he’ll seek answers.

Ted’s vow to find out why no action taken

FAIRFAX MP Ted O’Brien has vowed to seek answers as to why the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is not pursuing further those involved in the collapse of SmartCity Vocational College’s administrative arm SC Admin Pty Ltd.

A Federal Court public examination wrapped up mid-last year into the collapse of SC Admin, and it was understood ASIC and other Federal departments did not intend to pursue the matter further.

Mr O’Brien said he understood “for this matter to be pursued further by the DPP (Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions), agency would have to refer it and I look forward to receiving a full response from ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) to the questions I’ll be putting in this regard”.

“Firstly, while I was pleased the Federal Government could provide $2.6 million to staff in annual leave and other entitlements through the Fair Entitlements Guarantee, the right and proper thing would have been for those entitlements to be paid by the employer,” he said.

The Maroochydore-based national training college SmartCity Vocational College had operated 17 campuses around the country.

Its admin arm, SC Admin, went into liquidation on December 16, 2016, leaving more than 300 staff jobless days before Christmas.

Mr O’Brien said he was thankful the Federal Government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme was in place, and it was vital that scheme remained in place in future, to assist other staff caught out in similar circumstances.

He said he’d noted reports about ASIC deciding not to take any further action, and said he intended to seek an explanation about why they would not be pursuing it further.

The Federal VET-FEE HELP student loan program had come under heavy criticism in recent years, after a spate of high-profile rorts were exposed in national media.

Mr O’Brien said in general he didn’t think there was any part of public policy that should be free from review and improvement when needed, and it was important to continue to improve compliance, using whatever reasonable tools were available.

He said the Federal Government had more than 200 measures in place to improve compliance within the VET-FEE program.

He added accountability of providers required strong laws, and the enforcement of those laws available.

Mr O’Brien said anyone who left staff unemployed needed to be held accountable for their actions.

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