Understanding the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2019

February 16, 2020

In 2017, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, commissioned a review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (NVETR Act) and its associated legislative framework. The review was part of the Australian Government’s commitment to ensure the quality of the national vocational education and training (VET) sector into the future.

 

Professor Valerie Braithwaite from Australian National University conducted the review to determine the legislative capacity of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to efficiently and effectively regulate the sector, evaluate if ASQA’s functions and powers are consistent with best regulatory practice and assess the ability of the system to meet industry and student needs. Professor Braithwaite was also asked to investigate reforms that could improve outcomes for students.

 

The review report is available here.

 

Another expert review of Australia's vocational education and training sector was conducted by  the Honourable Steven Joyce.

 

The review report is available here.

 

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2019, suggested by the minister and VET stakeholders, is the result of the recommendations of Professor Valerie Braithwaite and Steven Joyce. We did our research and have identified that this bill is highly influenced by the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s submission to the Review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011. The copy of the ASQA’s submission is available via the following link here

 

This bill was introduced and read for the first time in the senate on 4th Dec 2019. The second reading debate occurred on the 5th February 2020. No proposed amendments have been suggested and/or made in the Amendment bill in the first or second debate. The bill is now almost ready to be introduced to the second house and the final text of the bill will be passed with or without any amendments by both the House of Representatives and the Senate which is presented to the Governor-General for assent. 

 

It is important to understand this bill as it will be bringing a number of substantial changes to ASQA’s regulation of the vocational education and training sector. 

 

It remains unclear how the proposed amendments will help the Australian Government and training and education sector to have a more transparent and balanced regulator that builds quality and capacity in the VET sector.

 

The suggested amendments are in relation to: 

 

Training organisation’s registration requirements, 

 

It appears under the amendment act the entry into the training market will be stringent. The total number of RTOs are already reasonably stable in recent years but these new changes will significantly reduce the number of organisations applying to become a registered training organisation (RTO). The proposed reform numbers one and two of ASQA’s submission are considered in full to make this change. 

 

 

 

The organisations will be required to demonstrate a genuine purpose of a commitment to providing high-quality VET and capability to do so to be a training organisation. The training organisation will also be responsible to demonstrate the establishment of a sustainable business model, with a focus on ensuring adequate resources are readily available for the proposed scope of registration. 

 

Conditions and decision timings relating to National VET Regulator (NVR) registered training organisations (NVR RTOs); 

 

The amendment bill includes information about the period for which the condition will be imposed and how organisations should be notified. 

 

Notification requirements for NVR RTOs in relation to changes to the operation of an NVR RTO or events likely to significantly affect an NVR RTO's ability to comply with the VET Quality Framework; 

 

The stringent notification requirements are suggested to be made mandatory. The legislation enforces a policy of continuous disclosure on an RTO, notifying ASQA when there are likely to be significant changes to an RTO or when an event occurs that is likely to significantly affect an organisation’s ability to be compliant.    

 

Reviewable decisions made by the delegate of the NVR; 

 

Section 203 includes information about the reviewable decisions made by the delegate of the NVR. 

 

Compliance standards and conditions for accredited courses;