Private provider to pay back $44million
This week another private training provider has proved why public services should stay in public hands.
The ACCC has successfully pursued Careers Australia for over $40million in fees owed to the Australian Government, after they misrepresented courses to some of Australia’s poorest communities.
Essentially the provider preyed on remote communities saying the courses were free and they would lead to employment opportunities, then pocketing the Commonwealth’s money to fund enrolment that was often never undertaken.
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On Monday, Careers Australia, which has campuses in the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs as well as Parramatta, admitted it had breached Australian consumer law and "engaged in unconscionable conduct" while it enrolled students in some of the poorest, most remote communities in Australia into thousands of dollars of debt.
According to the ACCC, the conduct included misrepresenting that the courses were free, that they would lead to employment, and offering inducements such as iPads.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said it was unacceptable that Careers Australia enrolled consumers from a remote Aboriginal community but did not alert them to the debts they would incur.
"This conduct affected some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of consumers in Australia," he said.
"It is also unacceptable that significant Commonwealth money went to fund courses that were often not undertaken."
The court-enforced undertaking, revealed on Monday, allows Careers Australia to avoid court action in the Federal Court but compels the company to automatically cancel the enrolments of students who have not completed a unit of study, and to repay the Commonwealth any amounts received as a result of those enrolments.
Since 2013, the company has received $190 million in Commonwealth funding for 20,000 enrolled students. It has since begun the process of reversing enrolments and student debt, handing back $44 million to taxpayers, and relief to up to 12,000 students, some of whom live in impoverished communities.
To read the full article: Careers Australia to pay back $44 million