The Australian Government has presented to the parliament proposed amendments to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (NVETR Act) to improve its efficiency and effectiveness by strengthening the regulatory framework. The amendments will ensure the National VET Regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), has the necessary powers and processes to encourage and promote a quality vocational education and training (VET) system that benefits students and industry.
Key Issues —
The amendments respond to some of the recommendations from the report prepared by Professor Valerie Braithwaite titled All eyes on quality: Review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 and the Strengthening Skills: Expert review of Australia’s VET system, a report prepared by the Hon Steven Joyce (Joyce Review).
ASQA is the national regulator responsible for registration and compliance monitoring of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), except some registered in Victoria and Western Australia, and accreditation of VET accredited courses.
The proposed amendments are intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ASQA’s regulation of the sector. The changes strengthen registration requirements, modernise information and data sharing and improve the administrative efficiency of the NVETR Act. Key reforms include:
NCVER Act Proposed Reforms ―
- A new condition of registration requiring NVR RTOs to demonstrate a commitment and the capability to deliver quality VET;
- A requirement to notify ASQA when there are likely to be substantial changes to the operation of the organisation or an event occurs that is likely to significantly affect the organisation’s ability to comply with the VET Quality Framework;
- Clarification that all reviewable decisions made by the delegate of the ASQA are subject to reconsideration by ASQA;
- To improve the transparency of AQSA’s regulatory actions and provide the sector with confidence in the ability of the ASQA to make appropriate, consistent and proportionate regulatory decisions, amendments provide for the preparation and publication of audit reports by the Regulator.
- The Australian Government will also be able to release information to the public about training provided by an RTO and the outcomes and experiences, for students and employers, of training undertaken with an RTO.
- Empower ASQA to cancel VET qualifications and VET statements of attainment without first directing the relevant NVR RTO to do so where there is a risk to individuals and the community.
- The Minister will have the power to direct ASQA to issue directions to the regulator in relation to the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers.
There are some concerns concerning changes to ASQA's power to cancel the registration of training providers that need to be more fully considered by the ITECA membership before a position can be identified.
The legislation is complex and will be reviewed by members serving on the ITECA Vocational Education and Training Reference Group. The initial assessment is that in order for ITECA members, and the VET sector more broadly, to have confidence that the reforms will improve the work of ASQA, there must be meaningful change brought about as a result of the review into ASQA’s governance, performance and culture. ITECA will also seek the advice on the ramifications of the proposed legislative changes from other stakeholders across the sector and will continue to collaborate with them in order to progress shared outcomes.
ITECA, with the strong support and engagement of its members, has been a vocal proponent of reforms to improve ASQA’s regulatory approach in a way that cuts red-tape but also ensures that students and their employers can access the quality outcomes they are looking for. ITECA will continue taking the advice and guidance from its members on how this outcome will, in a practical sense, alter the relationship between ASQA and quality providers in the VET sector.
Member Engagement —
ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education Reference Committee.
Further Information —
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