The reputation of our Vocational Education and Training sector has been sullied in recent years because of a handful of Registered Training Organisations who have preyed on vulnerable students and signed them up for large VET FEE-HELP debts.
In some cases, the students were not even aware they had been signed up for a course, let alone a significant debt - often around $20,000.
In other instances, incentives such as iPads, laptops and shopping vouchers were used to target disadvantaged communities in Western Sydney.
The problem was exacerbated by RTOs that employed brokers to recruit students and then distanced themselves from the actions of the brokers.
This week in Parliament we debated new laws to strengthen the integrity of our VET sector and crack down on dodgy operators.
The new laws improve regulatory oversight of the sector, and require anyone marketing a VET course to clearly identify which RTO is providing the qualification.
As a graduate and former Union President of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and a former tutor at the University of Canberra, I've seen how the VET sector can open up opportunity and choice to a broad range of students of all ages.
We need more skilled and trades people across a range of sectors in Australia, particularly here in Canberra.
And the only way can do that is through a trusted, respected and world class VET sector.
To read my speech click here.