LEGISLATION will be introduced into Parliament today to further crack down on unscrupulous Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers and improve training quality.
Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham said the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2015 would:
Enable the Australian Government to create new quality standards in order to quickly address any problems with VET providers or VET courses;
Require anyone, including brokers and other third parties, who is marketing a VET course to clearly identify which registered training organisation (RTO) is providing the qualification; and
Extend the registration period for RTOs from five to seven years to enable the national training regulator - the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) - to focus its attention on investigating and acting upon high risk and poor quality providers.
"The Bill sends a clear signal that, when required, the Australian Government will take strong action against those who seek to take advantage of vulnerable students and taxpayers," Senator Birmingham said.
"Currently, making new standards to address quality issues can take up to 12 months. This can leave students unfairly exposed to poor quality training, or training that employers have raised concerns about, in the meantime.
"Passage of this legislation will enable the Australian Government to consult with employers, training providers and state and territory governments to deliver a new condition of registration to address the specific quality concern within weeks, providing better protection for students."
Senator Birmingham said the extension to registration to seven years responded to advice from ASQA that re-registration audits were the least effective method of identifying poor performing providers, leading to less sanction activity than other types of audit.
"Extending the registration period, combined with ASQA's new risk-based model of regulation which relies upon a range of tools for reviewing providers, will enable ASQA to redirect resources away from re-registration audits towards targeted or random audits."
"This Bill builds on significant reform being implemented across the VET sector, including a national VET complaints hotline, improved data reporting, $68 million to strengthen ASQA, new trade support loans and tougher new standards for RTOs.
"These changes will be further complemented by anticipated reforms to also tackle a number of issues specific to VET FEE-HELP."