The Federal Court has ordered a South Australian woman to pay significant penalties for 156 contraventions of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (the NVR Act).
On 19 June 2019, the Federal Court found that Donna Amanda Harrison had, between January 2015 and November 2016, either directly or through her business, Glow Salon, breached the NVR Act by:
- offering to provide VET courses (or parts thereof)
- issuing documents that purported to be genuine VET statements of attainment or genuine VET qualifications
- using and displaying ‘bogus’ VET qualifications, and
- making false representations relating to VET courses.
On 5 June 2020, Justice Perry ordered Ms Harrison to pay a $571,000 penalty and $100,000 in costs.
In making her judgement, Justice Perry found that ‘conduct of the kind engaged in by Ms Harrison undermines the integrity of the VET sector to the detriment of the VET sector, the economy and the public’.
Further, Justice Perry stated that: ‘I agree with the Commonwealth [bringing proceedings on behalf of ASQA] as to the seriousness of the risks posed to public health and safety where persons unwittingly enter the workforce and provide services to the public on the erroneous basis that they have been properly trained and assessed by an accredited RTO in courses such as cosmetic tattooing, maintenance of infection control standards, waxing treatments, chemical straightening and bleaching, skincare, and intense pulsed light and laser safety protocols.’
ASQA Chief Commissioner and CEO Saxon Rice welcomed the Court’s decision.
‘It is important that employers, students and the public have confidence in the quality of education and training delivered by RTOs,’ Ms Rice said.
‘Providing fraudulent qualifications lets down students who are trying to learn new skills and risks damaging the reputation of legitimate and hard-working providers.’
ASQA began investigations into Donna Amanda Harrison’s training activities in August 2015 after receiving complaints. The matter was referred to the Australian Government Solicitor on 3 October 2017.