The Australian Parliament is currently considering the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2019, which represents the first tranche of major legislative reform to improve the regulation of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) is currently consulting with its members to assess the impacts on the proposed changes to providers.
Key Issues —
The regulation of the VET sector and the work of ASQA has undergone extensive review with the most recent activity including the Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training System undertaken by Steven Joyce. In response, the Australian Government has announced a significant reform program which includes legislative amendments to the work of ASQA as set out in the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2019.
The overall direction of the changes in the Bill seek to ensure that Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) have a demonstrated commitment to quality delivery in the VET sector. The Bill is currently being considered by the ITECA Vocational Education and Training Reference Group in order to ensure that the impacts on the VET sector are fully assessed. The major changes in the legislation are as set out below:
ASQA Legislative Reform Summary —
- A new condition of registration to be imposed requiring ASQA regulated RTOs to demonstrate a commitment and the capability to deliver quality VET.
- A requirement to notify ASQA when there are likely 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.
- The Bill clarifies that reviewable decisions (as defined in the legislation) are subject to reconsideration.
- With the aim of improving transparency of AQSA’s regulatory actions and providing the sector with confidence in the ability of ASQA to make appropriate, consistent and proportionate regulatory decisions, the Bill provides 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.
- The Bill includes amendments that will enable 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.
- Amendments in the Bill also provide the Minister with the power to direct ASQA (i.e. to issue directions to the regulator) in relation to the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers.
The progression of reforms set out in the Joyce review are welcomed by ITECA members. However, some provisions in the Bill require further study. By way of example, powers associated with cancellation of qualifications and statements of attainment need to be more carefully considered.
ITECA is currently working with key stakeholders including TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) and Community Colleges Australia (CCA) in order to ensure that the full implications of the legislative reforms are understood and, if required, the proposed amendments could be strengthened in order to protect students without creating an unnecessary compliance burden. ITECA has also met with the Acting Chief Commissioner of ASQA to discuss the reforms.
Member Engagement —
ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals belonging to the ITECA Vocational Education Sector Interest Group and the ITECA Vocational Education Reference Committee.
Further Information —
For more information on this issue please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.
Disclaimer & Copyright:
The material published on this website page is intended for general information only and is not legal advice or other professional advice. It may not be reproduced without ITECA’s prior written consent.