Aviation students who had licences revoked in TAFE SA scandal among $12m in taxpayer-funded compensation claims settled
The State Government has paid more than $2 million in compensation and retraining fees to 87 TAFE SA aircraft maintenance training course students who had their licences revoked following a damning Civil Aviation Safety Authority audit.
The audit, which helped precipitate a widespread TAFE SA training scandal affecting about 800 students across 16 ‘sub-standard’ courses last year, found the aircraft maintenance training course was non-compliant for a number of reasons.
The taxpayer-funded payout is among more than $12m in claims the Marshall Government is settling with around 100 victims of crisis overseen by the former Labor government, including the Oakden scandal, chemotherapy under-dosing, missed breast cancer detection and Pathology SA’s incorrect prostate test results.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said the TAFE SA settlement will cover the cost of students’ lost wages, re-training fees, accommodation and airfares for interstate and overseas students – as well as the cost of sending TAFE SA staff on ‘travelling roadshows’ across Australia to conduct the retraining.
“This whole sorry saga is just another example of the sheer incompetence of the former Labor government and the mess they’ve left us to clean up,’’ said Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“On Labor’s watch, people not only had their livelihoods affected but in the most tragic cases, lost their lives, while others endured enormous stress.
“In the case of TAFE SA, aircraft maintenance training students – who had paid around $5,000 to $10,000 for a module and up to $52,000 for a full Diploma – were told their licences were invalid and forced to suspend all work directly related to them.
“Four students from Dili, East Timor paid $98,000 to take the course and sit their exams.
“On the advice of the Crown Solicitor’s Office, the government is now covering their lost wages and paying for them to be retrained but, because many of them live interstate, there is an added $1 million cost to fly TAFE SA staff on travelling roadshows to Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane and Perth to conduct the retraining.
“South Australian taxpayers should, quite rightly, feel aggrieved that yet more of their hard-earned money is being spent on cleaning up Labor’s mess.”
Compensation Claims and the Total Cost to Taxpayers:
Claims arising from incorrect prostate test results 2016. Approximately 20 patients affected.
Total cost: $271,270
Claims arising from missed detectable breast cancer between 2010 and 2012. Approximately 56 patients affected.
Total cost: $5,846,670
Claims arising from both Royal Adelaide Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre for incorrect dosage of chemotherapy between 2014 and 2015.
Total cost: $1,014,268
Oakden Aged Care
Claims arising from the mistreatment of patients in Oakden Older Person’s Mental Health Service. 14 claims have been settled to date with further claims ongoing. From 2009 onwards.
Total cost to date: $1,531,852
Estimated total cost (including claims yet to be settled): $3,152,574
Claims arising from TAFE SA’s non-compliance to train aviation students in accordance with CASA requirements following audit completed March/April 2017.
Total cost: $2,037,888