Government awards ASQA with additional $68 million to improve VET practices

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It’s good news for RTOs, in a further drive to support the vocation education and training (VET) sector in Australia, the Government has announced it will provide extra funding to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

In a press statement, Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said the additional funding will help eliminate the ‘excessive paperwork and red tape’ for registered training organisations. Senator Birmingham also said the government funding will help bolster the ASQA’s regulatory powers.

The Senator spoke of how this is the first time the Authority has been given enough money to enable it to focus on “serious breaches of standards.” If the ASQA did not have the funding in place, it would be forced to be committed to raising revenue and therefore increasing fees, instead of combating poor standards and practice, continued Senator Birmingham.

“The Budget implements the $68 million funding commitment the Government made to reform the national training regulator to better enforce the tough new Standards for RTOs which came into effect on 1 April,” said the Assistant Minister for Education and Training.

The press release went on to remind that during 2015 – 16, the national regulator of VET had been due to move to a full cost recovery, which would have led to RTOs to pay approximately 120% more in annual fees. The increase in fees was due to take place from 1 July 2015.

Referring to the funding as being “good news for both RTOs and students”, Senator Birmingham said that without having to increase current fees beyond the annual CPI rise, both RTOs and the students will no longer have to bear the brunt of associated increases in course fees.

Chris Robinson, Chief Commissioner of ASQA agreed the additional Government funding will allow the VET regulator to eliminate poor practices and standards much more quickly.

“ASQA is now able to implement a regulatory strategy that is based on sector intelligence and data. This means regulatory scrutiny and resources can be targeted at areas of greatest risk,” Robinson said in the press statement.

The additional $68 million in funding is the latest move in a series of initiatives focused on improving the quality of Australia’s VET sector. In a drive to build a better training system, the Government is committed to overhauling the VET system with a package of reforms to ensure the skills and training sector is at the “centre of Australia’s economy.”