SmartCity training college officially de-registered

CUT OFF: SmartCity has been officially cut off from providing nationally-recognised courses.
CUT OFF: SmartCity has been officially cut off from providing nationally-recognised courses. Contributed

A SUNSHINE Coast-based national training college which pocketed more than $80 million in government funding has officially been de-registered.

SmartCity Vocational College Pty Ltd withdrew an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review the federal regulator's decision on February 10 cancelling its registration as a vocational education and training provider.

The decision not to challenge the de-registration means the Australian Skills Quality Authority's cancellation which was to take effect on March 6, has now been enacted, cutting SmartCity off the Federal Government's VET-Fee Help student loan funding.

SmartCity also had its application to provide vocational education and training services to overseas students refused.

The tribunal formally dismissed the application to review the decision yesterday.

"This means ASQA's decisions have now come into effect and SmartCity can no longer offer nationally-recognised qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework," an Australian Skills Quality Authority spokesman said.


WISHING THEM WELL: SC Admin and SmartCity Vocational College director James Spong.
WISHING THEM WELL: SC Admin and SmartCity Vocational College director James Spong. Facebook

The de-registration rules SmartCity out of providing Certificate I-IV, Diploma and other nationally-recognised qualifications.

SmartCity can still provide training to students, but its courses will not be nationally-recognised.

The Daily approached SmartCity director Jim Spong and his son, CEO Glenn Spong for comment.

Jim Spong said he had "successfully managed businesses for around 40 years" and had "enjoyed the latest challenges of trying to make a positive difference in the VET sector".

He said he'd seen "first-hand" the empowerment vocational education could provide, with a "heavily dyslexic wife and children".

He said SmartCity had always strived to do vocational education well and hoped the government continued to support with viable options their cohort of students who "struggled in a former classroom structure at school".

Mr Spong said students that were mid-study with SmartCity had been transitioned to other registered training organisations and because of that, he saw "little point" in appealing the Tribunal's decision.

The suthority decided to de-register the training college after finding SmartCity did not have enough appropriately qualified trainers and assessors for the number of students enrolled.

SmartCity was also found to have insufficient learning resources for students enrolled and insufficient facilities to continue delivering face-to-face training to those enrolled in face-to-face or partially face-to-face delivered courses.


NOT RESPONDING: SmartCity Vocational College CEO Glenn Spong.
NOT RESPONDING: SmartCity Vocational College CEO Glenn Spong. Contributed

The Coast-based college had campuses around the country in Armadale (WA), Bundaberg, Cairns, Caloundra, Elizabeth (SA), Fairfield (NSW), Gympie, Hervey Bay, Hobart, Inala, Ipswich, Launceston, Maroochydore, North Lakes, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Townsville, although its website now shows only Maroochydore under the locations tab.

SmartCity closed from December 16 last year until January 26, after its administrative arm, SC Admin Pty Ltd, also directed by Jim Spong, went into voluntary liquidation on December 16.

Hundreds of SmartCity staff were left jobless after SC Admin's collapse, left chasing up to $2.6 million owed to them in unpaid annual leave and other entitlements.

The Daily previously revealed SmartCity was paid more than $80 million by the Federal Government in student loan funding from 2013-2015 and SmartCity accountants and lawyers had met with liquidators six months prior to SC Admin's collapse.

About 18 months before SC Admin's liquidation SmartCity paid almost $9 million in bonuses to shareholders and associated trusts who were mostly Spong family members and business associates.

The Daily has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission whether it will pursue SmartCity for the $80 million in Federal funding paid out.

The Federal Education Department has confirmed the de-registration has also ruled SmartCity out of accessing Federal funding for disabled apprentices (DAAWS funding) for the provision of tutorial assistance.

Jim Spong said he would evaluate over the coming weeks how to best use the "fantastic systems and resources" they'd produced to run SmartCity, and determine whether there was a future for a different type of business for SmartCity to move into.

"But personally I feel that it's time to start planning for retirement in the near future as I'll be reaching 65 this year. I would like to spend more time with my wife and grandchildren," he said.

He said they'd tried to support their "valued staff" in their own futures, and many had remained in the industry and were making a fantastic contribution from his reports.

"We wish them, and our prior students, all the best with their bright futures ahead of them," Mr Spong said.

Topics:  community education federal government registered training organisation registered training provider smartcity smartcity vocational college sunshine coast teaching training

'There was more glass than shells'

LITTER: Bree Serafin took this photo of just some of the glass she collected from Kellys Beach on Saturday.

Litterbugs cause problems for families at beach

Man accused of stabbing neighbour to argue self-defence

The court heard the man had been swinging punches and Kohler produced a pocket knife he used for work as he was defending himself and his partner.

"He (Kohler) was acting in self -defence of himself and another.”

Dan Murphy's deal has Kalki Moon rising

GRIN AND TONIC: Michael Nash, Kylie Prosser and Rick Prosser are excited about their product being sold by Dan Murphy's.

Kalkie Moon on alcohol giant's shelves

Local Partners

REVEALED: What sparked the Coast's Bruce Hwy gridlock

STATE Government reveals the cause for the Sunshine Coast's traffic gridlock.

Painting a brighter future for koalas

WORTH SAVING: The Queensland Koala Crusaders' Community Crowdfunding Campaign aims to raise $30,000 towards the cost of planting 10,000 trees for koalas.

Queensland Koala Crusaders have launched a crowdfunding campaign

Help dog lovers do more good

DOG LOVERS: Red Collar Rescue Rebecca Ballyantyne, Terry Collins, Di McGregor, Yari Ottoboni, Lisa Marriot Annaliese and Tracey Amos.

Red Collar Rescue need region's support

The Project will now be on six nights a week

CHANNEL Ten’s Logie winning news and entertainment program The Project is expanding with a special Sunday night edition and a new host.

Click your fingers, tap your toes

Helen Peters, Elisabeth Wallis-Gaedtke, Evalee Sharples and Kemal Avunduk rehearse for Fascinating Rhythm, Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir's performance of hot jazz, sizzling samba, Latin beats and smooth swing sounds at Lake Kawana Community Centre on August 26-27.

Libby to set beat for Fascinating Rhythm this weekend

Margot Robbie is unrecognisable in London

Margot, is that really you?

MARGOT Robbie looks completely unrecognisable as Queen Elizabeth I.

Game of Thrones: Season 7 finale predictions

Emilia Clarke in a scene from season 7 of Game of Thrones.

JON and Daenerys finally met. But what happens next?

Reese Witherspoon on being a ‘has-been’ at 36

Witherspoon’s career has never looked better but that didn’t stop people declaring her a “has-been”.

Reese on the ‘brutal’ article that called her a has-been at 36.

Helping kids understand the wonder of the bush

FARM TV: Cilla Slack has just released her second series of Blue Gum Farm TV. The Gayndah farmer's show is available to download around the world.

Second series released for farm girl Cilla at Blue Gum Farm TV

RECAP: Game of Thrones s7 e6 - Beyond the Wall

Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, Iain Glen, Paul Kaye and Joe Dempsie in a scene from Game of Thrones.

*Warning this story contains spoilers about today's new episode*

Residents fear sand mine sell out by State Minister

Sand mine opponents attend the Nambour Council Chambers.Cou

Further testing undertaken on site, despite claims of significance

Investors quick to snap up property in key growth corridor

High-profile commercial site sells at auction for $4.920m

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South