The VET Sector News

India is reforming education for the first time since 1986 – here’s why Australia should care

India released a Draft National Education Policy (DNEP) in June 2019. It’s the first comprehensive policy proposal on education in the country since 1986 and a major, game-changing statement.

Australia has a moral duty to engage with the global challenge of providing quality education to hundreds of millions of Indian youth. And by engaging with India as it rolls out this policy, Australian universities stand to gain knowledge and research capacity, among many other things.

For more Information, please refer to;  

ACCC wins record $26m penalty against bankrupt education provider Empower

The Federal Court has handed a record $26.5 million fine to failed training college Empower Institute, as well as a demand it repays more than $56 million to the Commonwealth Government for funding it received to run courses.

However, the fine may prove academic, given the firm put itself into liquidation once the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) started action against it in late 2017.

It is understood the fine is unlikely to ever be paid, but lawyers are trawling through the wreckage to see how much the Commonwealth will be able to retrieve.

For more Information, please refer to 

Victoria’s TAFE course completion rate the worst in Australia

At least two out of three people who enrolled in a government-funded TAFE course in Victoria between 2015 and 2017 quit before gaining a qualification.

The dismal completion rate has come to light in new figures produced by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, which demonstrate that Victoria had the lowest course completion rate for government-funded vocational education in the country in 2017, with just 29.6 per cent of students gaining a qualification.

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ATARs could be scrapped as education needs expand

The ATAR system appears destined for the scrapheap owing to the narrowness of what it tells employers and educators about the ability of a student.

The chair of the government’s new Review of Senior Secondary Pathways, professor Peter Shergold told The Australian Financial Review Australia focuses “far too strongly on a single measure of achievement” when getting a job or doing further education is dependent on many characteristics, including non-academic ones.

The chancellor of Western Sydney University said the shortcomings of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank fed into a distorted array of options for what to do after leaving school, which pushed year 12 students into choices they weren’t equipped to make.

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Australia needs a national shipbuilding authority

The latest salvo in the national debate about how best to spread the risks and benefits of the $300-billion naval shipbuilding plan is whether full-cycle docking of the Collins-class submarines should move from South Australia to Western Australia. It’s an important decision.

The Collins fleet is based in Perth. Although the boats were built by ASC in Adelaide, their ongoing sustainment involves four-yearly mid-cycle dockings that take place at HMAS Stirling and the Henderson shipyard in Western Australia. ASC has a total workforce of around 2,200 with around 280 positions in WA to do routine and mid-cycle sustainment work.

Major full-cycle dockings are required every eight to 10 years. They take two years to complete and can involve cutting open the submarine for a ground–up ‘nuts and bolts’ rebuild of hardware and systems. They are currently returned to the manufacturer, ASC at its Adelaide shipyard, where a highly skilled workforce reinvents each submarine.

For more Information, please refer to 

Caleb Bond: It’s simple — without more tradies, Australia’s in trouble

The number of new apprentices in Australia is at its lowest point in two decades and vocational training in turmoil. Without trades, we’re in trouble – and it’s nothing short of a national crisis, writes Caleb Bond.

If we don’t train children to take the jobs that need filling, we will have failed them at the most basic level.

The continued ignorance towards trades as an important part of our nation’s future, and the effect that has on us all, is nothing short of a national crisis.

The education system exists to turn children into well-adjusted, contributing members of society.

But we continually fail them by pushing them in the direction of studies that will do nothing to help them get a job.

In a recent development, high school students are now being told to do vocational training that doesn’t interest them just to tick a box.

Business SA reckons less than 5 percent of students doing vocational courses are actually interested in taking their field of study up as a job or an apprenticeship, which means we’re in real trouble.

These students, apparently, are being steered in the direction of these courses so they can be passed off as achieving a “satisfactory level of schooling”.

In other words, they’re going through the motions to get the whole thing over with as little fuss as possible.

Which is all well and good when you’re 16 and desperate to get out of school.

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Australia lands 8th in the WorldSkills competition

Australia’s trainees and apprentices took their skills to the world’s best this August at the WorldSkills Competition.

Placing eighth overall, the team of 15 made up one of 66 national teams that competed in the Russian city of Kazan.

The competition, which showcases the benefits of skilled trade professionals and vocational institutions, ranked contestants with a bronze, silver, or gold medal.

Clinton Larkings came away with a silver medal in the Industrial Mechanics (Millwright) category, which tested the TAFE NSW Orange student’s ability to install, maintain, repair, and remove machinery and equipment.

Anthony Ters, of TAFE NSW Mount Druitt, received the Medallion of Excellence in Automobile technology.

Bronze medals were also worn by Patrick Brennan, for refrigeration & air-conditioning, and Patrick Keating for plumbing and heating.

For more Information, please refer to

A VET reform every two and a half weeks

Governments have made 465 reforms to the training sector in the last 21 years, an average of one every two and a half weeks for more than two decades which has left the sector reeling from reform fatigue and students and teachers “unable to make long term plans”

For more Information, please refer to 

Unpacking ASQA audit reports and files (Part 3)

Let’s look into what is actually going on in the audits and ASQA practices. This is part 3 of the ongoing series. We are referring here a number of cases from the different audits conducted by the Australian  Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). 

1. ASQA officers justifying their statements using information that contradicts all documented and credible evidence.


2. Maybe understanding the training package requirements and course entry requirements to enrol into a course might help. 


3. Targeting the RTO’s based on the training and assessment resource provider they use!! Referring to the resource provider names in the official documents submitted to Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).  


4. Assessment resources are non-compliant because an Auditor has said so? 


5. ASQA questioning the credibility of RTO staff by using completely incorrect and ridiculous information  


6. Industry suggested feedback implemented and all clauses made compliant except the main clause 1.6 of “Industry consultation” 


7. How can you make up your mind before auditing an organisation? What is the purpose of audit then? Is the audit merely a bureaucratic process? 


8. Incompetency to its highest level 


9. Using the Financial Viability Risk Assessment clauses for malicious reasons. You cancel the RTO registration,  you wait until the RTOs have no other options than to shut down their operations and wind-up their businesses. 


10. Being part of practices that are not part of any regulatory activities

Questions raised: 

  1. Do you believe that ASQA is repeatedly and knowingly violating the NVR Act, 2011 and wilfully abused process in its dealing with scores, if not hundreds, of quality private RTOs?  

  2. Do you think ASQA has been attempting, and sometimes even been successful, in gaming the outcomes at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)?

  3. Does this reflect the conduct of a model litigant and regulatory body in the 21st century? 

  4. Has it been exploiting the Standards and using excessive delays to impose additional financial and personal stress on RTO owners, senior managers and all other employees? 

  5. Who are the people behind these decisions, conducts and acts of injustice and corruption? 

  6. Why has the Australian taxpayer’s money been used to fight these cases in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal? 


Most importantly:                  

How have ASQA’s Solicitors, General Managers, Managers and Commissioners got away with this conduct for so long?

The implications of ASQA being moving to a full cost recovery agency

ASQA and TEQSA are required by the Australian Government to transition from partial cost recovery to full cost recovery by 2020-21 making charging activities more consistent with the  other areas of Government and Australian Government Charging Framework. 

Currently, neither regulator recovers the full cost of their regulatory operation or the full cost of legislative activities. The regulators recover only the costs of regulatory activity for outputs that are initiated/requested by the providers and not costs associated with compliance, monitoring, enforcement, and investigations. Under these updated provisions that will change.


In December 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to ASQA’s establishment as a cost recovery agency, and announced that ASQA would over a period of years move from partial to full cost recovery. On 1 July 2011 ASQA was established by the enactment of the NVR Act and supplementary legislation. In the 2014–15 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, the Australian Government confirmed ASQA’s continued operation as a partial cost recovery entity.

The Australian Government Budget 2018–19 announced that ASQA will transition from partial cost recovery to full cost recovery by 2020–21.

During the transition to full cost recovery by 2020–21, ASQA will engage in public consultation with all VET sector stakeholders before any changes are made to ASQA’S fees and charges. ASQA will detail any proposed changes, the rationale and anticipated cost-recovery outcomes of the proposal, and provide all stakeholders with the opportunity to provide input and feedback. ASQA will allow adequate time not only for this consultation to take place, but also for reconsideration and revision of the proposal based on stakeholder input received during the consultation.

Public consultation on ASQA’s fees and charges for 2018–19 took place from 1 August to 3 September 2017. For more information on this consultation process, see section 5—Stakeholder engagement.

ASQA recovers costs by imposing fees and charges on providers for various tasks ASQA performs as part of regulating the VET sector. ASQA receives budget appropriations from the Australian Government, and cost recovery revenue is returned to the Australian Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund to offset budget funding

ASQA’s collection of fees and charges 

ASQA’s authority to impose fees is provided in section 232 of the NVR Act.

ASQA’s authority to impose charges is provided in sections 7–12 of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Charges) Act 2012 (the Charges Act).

ASQA mainly imposes and collects fees and charges on three key groups:

  • Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)

  • Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) providers—including those that deliver English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

  • VET accredited course owners.


ASQA’s business activities 

ASQA is required to support all its business activities and operations under the full recovery model. The business activities and operations include: 

 ASQA’s partial cost recovery model 

ASQA currently receives an annual budget appropriation for operating and capital activities from the Australian Government and returns cost recovery revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund to offset their budget funding. The cost of some of ASQA’s regulatory activity is partially recovered through fees and charges. Some of ASQA’s regulatory activity is funded by ASQA’s annual budget appropriation.  


Let’s now look into how the proposed changes are going to affect your training organisation or its operations. 

A revised fees and charges model came into effect from 6 July 2018: 

  • reduce many fees and charges from the current rates, reflecting efficiencies realised through ASQA’s upgraded business systems and improved processes

  • provide cost reductions for providers that demonstrate high levels of compliance with their regulatory obligations , including the requirements of the VET Quality Framework

  • only impose assessment fees in certain cases (for example, when a registered training organisation seeks to renew its registration, charges for the additional cost of assessment will only be imposed on those providers that require an audit)

  • align with ASQA’s risk-based approach to regulation, so that providers that require a greater level of regulatory attention and oversight are more likely to pay higher costs for their regulation.


Changes to fees and charges for RTOs include:

  • decreases in initial, renewal and change-of-scope application lodgement fees

  • a shift from assessments of all applications (with costs shared across all providers) to an approach where costs are charged at the point of audit (meaning that for renewal and change- of-scope applications, charges for the additional cost of assessment will only be imposed on those providers that require an audit).


CRICOS changes include:

  • decreases in initial and renewal application lodgement fees

  • a decrease in the change-of-scope application fee. Course accreditation changes include:

  • replacing the single application fee with a lodgement fee and an assessment fee (so that ASQA’s initial costs are recovered, and applicants whose applications are of insufficient quality to proceed to the assessment stage are only charged for the cost of lodgement)

  • replacing the single amendment fee with different fees for ‘minor’ and ‘major’ amendments, which results in a lower cost to providers who make minor amendments.


Annual registration changes include:

  • replacing the annual fee with an annual registration charge to ensure consistency with the Australian Government Charging Framework (noting the amount and structure is unchanged, and that there will be no financial impact on providers, course owners or ASQA due to this change).


Averaging the application lodgement fee for initial, assessment, renewal and change-of-scope provides simplicity, consistency and efficiency.

Does this mean all providers will pay more? 

ASQA‘s answer to this question is “not necessarily”.  The proposed fees and charges represent a full review of associated costs, taking into account the impact of streamlining of some processes and all relevant data. 

Calculation of fees and charges takes into account the principle that the cost of dealing with non-compliance should not be borne by compliant providers. 

ASQA fees and charges are designed to limit financial impact on providers and course owners while ensuring the quality of providers entering and operating in the industry.

ASQA’s fees and charges for 2018–19 are designed to support ASQA’s risk-based regulatory approach, incentivise provider compliance, and minimise the administrative and financial burden on providers that provide quality outcomes to students.

The fees and charges apply to all ASQA-regulated providers and course owners.

What is most important for you to understand 

Stay compliant. The cost of non-compliance is a lot more than you spending time and energy to stay compliant with the operations of your organisation. Organise an independent audit from experienced compliance consultants to look into your operations, processes and practices. Improve where you can, fill gaps and make sure you are following all regulatory guidelines and legislative instruments at all times. 

There is always help available for your RTO.  

If you unsure or not confident with your understanding of the regulatory processes, ask for help!  Having professional advice can be an invaluable resource to your RTO. Utilising the experiences of a seasoned professional who is dealing with the regulatory bodies can give you access to a wealth of information for your RTO.  Having the right professional help can actually save you money, time and stress. Contact us at to see how we can help your RTO.

What could be other implications? 

  1. How will compliant and non-compliant RTOs be identified in the current unclear and completely ambiguous regulatory environment and system? 

  2. How will transparency be maintained through the Cost-Recovery Implementation Statements (CRIS)? 


Most importantly, 

  1. How will the Government and regulatory bodies ensure that compliant RTOs are not penalised for the actions of non-compliant RTOs?  

  2. Will there be higher course fees than the already expensive course fees to Australian and International students? 



Fees and charges | Australian Skills Quality Authority. (2019). Retrieved 28 September 2019, from

The major issues with current legislative and regulatory standards (Part 1)

We are starting a series of articles discussing what is broken or can be improved in the current legislative and regulatory standards. We will also talk about how there should be no room for ambiguity and a very clear understanding in terms of what is expected from the training organisations. 
Our first target is the assessment system and why it is broken. 
Current legislative requirement: 

Now, let’s unpack the requirements: 
Clause 1.8 (a) states that the assessment system must comply with the “assessment requirements of the relevant training package or VET accredited courses” 
In reality, auditors are currently auditing the organisations on all units of competency details mentioned on the national register. Take the example of
BSBADM502 – Manage meetings
According to the legislative instrument, the organisations should be audited on the assessment requirements section of the unit of competency that consists of performance evidence, knowledge evidence and assessment conditions.  
Assessment Requirements 
Modification History

 Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to:

  • apply conventions and procedures for formal and informal meetings including:
    • developing and distributing agendas and papers
    • identifying and inviting meeting participants
    • organising and confirming meeting arrangements
    • running the meeting and following up
  • organise, take part in and chair a meeting
  • record and store meeting documentation
  • follow organisational policies and procedures.

Note: If a specific volume or frequency is not stated, then evidence must be provided at least once.

Knowledge Evidence

To complete the unit requirements safely and effectively, the individual must:

  • outline meeting terminology, structures, arrangements
  • outline responsibilities of the chairperson and explain group dynamics in relation to managing meetings
  • describe options for meetings including face-to-face, teleconferencing, web-conferencing and using webcams
  • identify the relevant organisational procedures and policies regarding meetings, chairing and minutes including identifying organisational formats for minutes and agendas.

Assessment Conditions
Assessment must be conducted in a safe environment where evidence gathered demonstrates consistent performance of typical activities experienced in the general administration field of work and include access to:

  • reference material in regard to meeting venues and technology, catering and transport suppliers
  • organisational policies and procedures for managing meetings
  • office supplies and equipment
  • computers and relevant software
  • case studies and, where possible, real situations.

Assessors must satisfy NVR/AQTF assessor requirements.

However, according to our experiences of participating in audits, auditors not only use the assessment requirements, but audit the training organisations on the elements and performance criteria, foundation skills, and even on the unit application. 

Auditors, therefore, expect to see the assessment resources that meet the following requirements for this unit of competency: 

  • Assessment conditions: 

Set up the assessment environment correctly and provide all necessary documentation, facilities, equipment and tools necessary for the students to participate and complete an assessment task: 

  • reference material in regard to meeting venues and technology, catering and transport suppliers
  • organisational policies and procedures for managing meetings
  • office supplies and equipment
  • computers and relevant software
  • case studies and, where possible, real situations.

So, if your assessment tools do not have case studies,  computers and relevant software for students to access, office supplies and equipment to conduct meetings such as notepads, notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, projector, microphone, laser pointers, etc., organisational policies and procedures for managing meetings, reference material in regard to venue, technology, catering and transport suppliers and if the assessment is not being conducted in a safe business environment and do not  demonstrate consistent performance of typical activities experienced in the general administration field of work, your resources do not meet the requirements of the assessment conditions. 
You must focus on the plural throughout the assessment conditions. 

  • Knowledge evidence: 

Knowledge refers to learning concepts, principles and acquiring information regarding a particular topic or item. Knowledge helps us develop “understanding”. If we do not have an understanding then how we will be able to use skills effectively or demonstrate our abilities efficiently? 
Knowing how to do something does not simply imply you can do it, even if you know the steps such as what should occur and when. However, knowledge should be assessed first before students demonstrate “they can do something or achieve something”.  Mostly, people learn to use the tools and equipment first before using them for practical purposes. 
ASQA guidelines state: 
Knowledge evidence:

  • Specifies what the individual must know in order to safely and effectively perform the work task described in the unit of competency.
  • The type and depth of knowledge required to meet the demands of the unit of competency

In our experience, If the assessment resources do not assess student’s knowledge first before skills, this is considered as a non-compliant practice. 
The auditors are expecting the training organisations to demonstrate that their assessment resources have questions or case-studies on outlining and use of meeting terminology, structures and arrangements, outline the responsibilities of the chairperson and discuss the group dynamics in relation to the management of meetings, description of different ways to conduct meetings, and have included  relevant organisational procedures and policies regarding meetings, chairing and minutes including identifying organisational formats for minutes and agendas to meet the following criteria: 

  • outline meeting terminology, structures, arrangements
  • outline responsibilities of the chairperson and explain group dynamics in relation to managing meetings
  • describe options for meetings including face-to-face, teleconferencing, web-conferencing and using webcams
  • identify the relevant organisational procedures and policies regarding meetings, chairing and minutes including identifying organisational formats for minutes and agendas.


  • Performance evidence: 

ASQA guidelines state that performance evidence specifies the skills to be demonstrated relevant to the product and process and also the frequency or volume of the product or process.
Performance is to “perform”, “demonstrate”, “carry out an activity or function” or “get something done” to an expected standard or measurement criteria.  
Therefore, taking the example of BSBADM502 unit of competency, the assessment resources must have practical tasks and activities, where learners can demonstrate that they can apply conventions, procedures, develop and distribute meeting agendas and papers, identify and invite participants, organise and confirm meeting arrangements, run the meeting, participate in the follow-ups, organise and take part in chairing a meeting, record and store meeting documentation, and follow organisational policies and procedures.  

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to:
apply conventions and procedures for formal and informal meetings including:

  • developing and distributing agendas and papers
  • identifying and inviting meeting participants
  • organising and confirming meeting arrangements
  • running the meeting and following up
  • organise, take part in and chair a meeting
  • record and store meeting documentation
  • follow organisational policies and procedures.

Note: If a specific volume or frequency is not stated, then evidence must be provided at least once.

  • Foundation skills 

Foundation skills are fundamental to a person’s participation in the workplace, the community and in education and training. They are a combination of language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills and employability skills.
The expectations from BSBADM502 is that the assessment resources must have activities and tasks that demonstrate the learner’s ability to participate in reading, writing, oral communication, numeracy, navigating the world of work (we noticed a mistake here in the training package it is incorrectly written as navigating the work of work and should be rectified as soon as possible), interact with others, get the work done according to the criteria mentioned below: 

Foundation Skills

This section describes language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills incorporated in the performance criteria that are required for competent performance.

If the assessment resources, for example, do not have information about using appropriate style, tone and vocabulary for the audience, context and purpose under participating in oral communication or asking questions and listening to responses to clarify understanding , your resources are non-compliant. 

  • Elements and Performance Criteria 

ASQA’s guidelines state that: 
Elements are the essential actions or outcomes which are demonstrable and assessable. 
Performance criteria refer to the required performance in relevant tasks, roles and skills to demonstrate achievement of the element.
The training organisations must focus on the “Action verbs” in the performance criteria and understand what is expected from the learners. 
Taking the example of BSBADM502, if the assessment resources do not provide the student’s opportunity to develop agenda, state meeting purpose, style and structure is appropriate to identify and notify the meeting participants, confirm meeting arrangements, despatch meeting papers, chair meetings, conduct meetings, ensure meeting facilitation, brief minute taker, checking transcribed meeting notes, distributing and storing meeting minutes and other follow-up documentation within designed timelines and according to organisational requirements, report outcomes of meetings as required etc. the resources are non-compliant straightaway. 

  • Application

We have been part of a number of audits where the “Unit application” has also been considered as sometimes, this section includes a few additional items not covered through the other parts of the unit of competency. 
Let’s take the same unit as an example, BSBADM502, and review the unit application: 


This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to manage a range of meetings including overseeing the meeting preparation processes, chairing meetings, organising the minutes and reporting meeting outcomes.
It applies to individuals employed in a range of work environments who are required to organise and manage meetings within their workplace, including conducting or managing administrative tasks in providing agendas and meeting material. They may work as senior administrative staff or may be individuals with responsibility for conducting and chairing meetings in the workplace.
No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.
If the assessment resources do not provide adequate structure and framework to assess the skills and knowledge required to manage a range of meetings including overseeing the meeting preparation processes, chairing meetings, organising the minutes and reporting meeting outcomes, the resources become non-compliant. 

What should be assessed and what not 

We believe an industry consultation should occur on what should be assessed or what not, how much is too much or how little is too little? 
Set the expectations correctly 
Nonetheless, in the meantime, the regulatory body must set up the expectations or practices of auditors correctly. 
The current audit practices do not align with the regulatory and legislative guidelines and framework. 
Either the standards and legislation require tweaking or the auditors should be told to follow the current regulatory guidelines “as-it-is” and audit the “assessment requirements”. 
We will continue to discuss assessment systems and a number of other critical issues in our next editions. 

How will ASQA move from its current practices?

Pic: Courtesy @edissuesaus 

Note: The pic includes the famous saying of Ex-Chief Commissioner, Australian Skills Quality Authority in the Independent Tertiary Education Conference, Itec 2019 that held on 21-23 August 2019 at Marriott Surfers Paradise, for more information, please refer  

Yes, you heard it right. The chief commissioner of Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has resigned from his post after Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business and the Hon Steve Irons MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships and all other Federal, State and Territory skills ministers decided to work together through COAG on a national approach to implement the key recommendations of the Braithwaite and Joyce Reviews.  

The industry wholeheartedly has welcomed the change. 

We are sharing some of the posts from social media: 

“The reforms set out by Michaelia Cash for the #VocationalEducation and #Training system will strengthen the work of independent providers and ensure quality outcomes for students. The change at ASQA is an important step in this journey.” 

“Awesome news but long overdue” 

“A change is finally coming to the RTO landscape. The question we must ask ourselves is will it be to our benefit or will it be worse than what we have now? Will ASQA finally treat us in the manner they should with proper respect and will they clean it up and remove the old guard and bring in better management?” 

“Now there is a parliamentary heat on it – he’s getting out of the kitchen cause its getting hot”

“We can’t make one person responsible for the whole organisation’s failure. More should go, it’s their culture not the system” 

“ASQA should be abolished. I have never come across such a corrupt Government body in my over 22 years in the public and private sector.”

“He’s never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm..”

“ASQA is going on a brand new TV show called “I’m a regulator, get me out of here!”?” 

“The whole culture is toxic.  That is why they have a high staff turnover.”

“The big news in several areas, hopefully, ASQA to move towards an ‘Educative direction’ would be a huge advancement in the VET sector, obviously, Mark Patterson is not in agreement with the two VET reports and any new changes on the table, education and regulation go hand in hand for quality, continuous improvement and compliance…I hope this new era will be a win-win for all RTOs”

“It was much needed. I believe all commissioners, General Manager and other managers must go.” 

“It’s time for ASQA to go! 

Whilst I am a great proponent of a national regulator, ASQA are a dictatorship which must be stopped! NARA were a great system

And even the state based system were better (really did I say that) QLd DET with all its faults performed 1000% better than ASQA 

Also ASQA charge like wounded bulls ( I used to pay $800 a year to DET QLD now it’s $8000 a year to ASQA )

Someone has to support the highly paid cohort at the dictatorship”

“Having just gone through the fiasco of an AAT matter against ASQA (and winning!) I can endorse all of your comments and would go further. ASQA has almost destroyed educational training innovation in Australia and set us behind the rest of the Western World by 20 years. My RTO and a previous one have been involved since regulated training started here. It is a shambles and a disgrace. It is so bad now that since I have now started my own ASQA legal consultancy business (as a lawyer with lengthy RTO experience) for those wishing to battle ASQA.” 

“ I’ve been a security trainer for the past ten years on and off seasonally when I want to teach. I’ve never seen such a backward system and training information that is outdated and non effective in today’s security industry. Some of the information, I have not seen since the 80’s. The material is not current and made up of people that falsely believe they are qualified security people, but in reality from another planet.”

“It’s time for ASQA to go! 

Whilst I am a great proponent of a national regulator, ASQA are a dictatorship which must be stopped! NARA were a great system

And even the state based system were better (really did I say that) QLd DET with all its faults performed 1000% better than ASQA 

Also ASQA charge like wounded bulls ( I used to pay $800 a year to DET QLD now it’s $8000 a year to ASQA )

Someone has to support the highly paid cohort at the dictatorship”

“That’s wrong on so many levels. It’s not a behaviour expected from a regulator. “ 

Moving from unclear guidelines and protocols and transitioning to a quality framework 

When the audit guidelines are completely subjective and not objective, auditors are free to twist them, turn them and use them any way they want to. This is one of the many problems in the VET sector. 

There is a very famous story, where one (currently employed) auditor made another auditor’s RTO  non-compliant. Auditors are hired to follow the guidelines. If they are trained to find and provide quality audit findings and outcomes, how come there are such a difference in judgements that one cannot keep their organisation compliant and the other cannot properly follow the compliance guidelines.  Was this a case of an auditor not able to maintain a complaint RTO or an auditor not being able to audit correctly? How is the regulatory body expecting people working in the sector with no audit backgrounds to meet compliance and regulatory requirements?

No two auditors reach the same conclusions. As part of our resource writing arm, CAQA Resources, we have involved a number of auditors and our experience is that the feedback from them is most ot the time contradictory.  It takes substantial time and effort, therefore, to produce a final copy of a document that meets the requirements of most auditors and industry experts and where they reluctantly sign off to say it is compliant.

All audit guidelines should be written in a very clear, easy to understand and implement, and audit format. There should be no room for subjective measurements to determine the effectiveness and suitability of practices, policies and procedures.  The subjective language of the regulatory standards is the biggest threat to a nationally consistent audit approach and quality management system (QMS) auditors. The regulatory framework should be based on practical experiences and objectives. It should, in reality, be focused on the three main domains: 

  1. “Industry-centred” i.e. according to the needs and requirements of the industry to ensure Australia leads the vocational education and training throughout the world. 

  2.  “Student-centric” i.e. the student should be the focus from pre-enrolment to course completion. 

  3. “Quality-based” i.e. based upon continuously improving the standards of education, student-support, trainers, facilities, resources, equipment, infrastructure 

All audits should be recorded 

The stories and rumours that are circulating in the industry are not good for the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and for the training and education industry. These stories and rumours can only stop if all audits are being recorded.

Who audits the auditors? 

We have raised our concerns around this in a separate topic in this newsletter. 

What the industry wants to see 

We would like to see a regulatory body that: 

  1. Provides training and education: The regulatory body MUST provide very clear expectations and guidelines regarding what is expected from the training organisations for each and every standard and clause. No ambiguity, no double meaning, using simple English language structure and templates. 

  2. Promotes Australian Education Worldwide: We need a regulator that helps training organisations promote the Australian brand and values worldwide. 

  3. Encourages technology, innovation and education through different delivery modes: Address the white elephant in the room. Regulatory practices should not be a barrier to using or encouraging technology and stop us from reaching out to the learners. This practice should be abolished immediately and the focus should be on how we can be world leaders in terms of the development of training packages and practices that promote technology, innovation and education through a variety of delivery modes. 

  4. Encourages continuous improvement: No one is perfect, no organisation is perfect, seeking perfection from any training organisation is setting up incorrect standards and expectations. The organisations, on the other hand, should be encouraged to regularly review their system and practices and evolve through experience, professional development and knowledge. Continuous improvement must be recorded for future audits and regulatory activities. 

  5. Does not penalise administrivia: ASQA or any other regulatory body should not and MUST NOT penalise any organisation based on minor administrative mistakes. 

  6. Quality organisations should be appreciated and encouraged: Appreciation and acknowledgement are few factors that drive the training organisations. Good organisations must be acknowledged to set up the standards for the quality, examples and case studies should be discussed to encourage and promote quality, 

  7. No TAFE or RTO favouritism: A regulatory body must follow their guidelines and protocols, they must not behave or act against the regulatory guidelines at any time. We believe TAFE and RTOs – are both critical for Australia’s economy, industry and students. 

  8. Criminal and unscrupulous practices must be clearly outlined and should be handled by the Australian Federal Police or other regulatory bodies: if auditors, training staff or any other stakeholders have any concerns regarding unscrupulous providers and their practices, they should be reported to the appropriate regulatory body or police and the responsible people should be brought to justice.

  9. No more updates to Certificate IV in Training and Assessment: The minimum requirement for getting into training and assessment in the VET sector should be replaced with a continuing professional development (CPD) policy. The CPD points should be focused on vocational education and training knowledge (foundation), competency-based practices such as validation and moderation, assessment writing, designing and development and technical, professional or workplace skills or practices. 

  10. Experience and knowledge to get into the training and education industry and fit and proper person requirements: This should be one of the main criteria to focus on in the revised regulatory standards to ensure the right people enter into the sector and industry and there are no or minimum threats to the rebuilding of the reputation of Australia’s education and training system.

Note: We highly encourage involving experienced VET gurus, such as John Price and other highly qualified and experienced RTO consultants and auditors in the review process. 

RTO experiences with ASQA from the front line-Part 2

We are continuing to share the RTO experiences from the front line with the current regulatory body of vocational education and training, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

1. Completely unjust and untrue grounds used by Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for RTO rejection   

2. No exit meeting with the RTO, no information regarding where an organisation is compliant or non-compliant, no investigation of complaint and no one to hear the injustice that happened to the RTOs.

3. Completely unprofessional behaviour from the regulatory body with contradictory statements and malicious conduct throughout 

4. Allegations and unfounded claims without any truth 

5. You can be either compliant or non-compliant; not compliant and then in the next submission or hearing non-compliant 

6. Where is consistency in the regulatory practice? 

7. ASQA and its officers indulged in completely unprofessional and unethical practices 

8. ASQA auditors not following their own legislative and regulatory guidelines and requirements. 

9. No clarity or setting up expectations and ever changing the goal-posts 

10. Preparing and circulating completely bogus maps with highly confidential details to public and other RTOs to “destroy” Australian businesses and individuals 

Do you have any information that you would like us to share? Send them to

A potential audit of the Australian Skills Quality Authority by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)

The Australian National Audit Office is the national auditor for the Parliament of Australia and the Government of Australia. It reports directly to the Australian Parliament via the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. 

ANAO has scheduled a potential “performance audit” of Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for its 2019-2020 regulatory activities. For more information, please refer to 

This audit would examine the effectiveness of the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA’s) operations. ASQA is the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector. It provides regulatory oversight for the VET sector in all states and territories except Western Australia and Victoria, where its remit is limited to courses taught nationally from registered training organisations in these jurisdictions. In 2018–19, ASQA’s budget was $54 million.

All training organisations are encouraged to contact ANAO through their “contact us” page if you would like to submit any information regarding Australian Skills Quality Authority or its officers.  
ANAO Contact us page is available through the following link; 

A 19-member panel Industry VET Stakeholder Committee working to deal with the VET challenges

The Morrison Government has established its Vocational Education and Training (VET) Stakeholder committee to help drive its significant agenda of reform.

Scott Morrison has flagged that VET reforms are a key reform agenda priority and is working to deal with the challenges outlined in the Joyce review that declared confidence in the sector was declining, outcomes were inconsistent and not aligning with industry needs and that the system was too complex to navigate for students. 

The highly experienced committee was handpicked, to ensure we have the talent and knowledge informing the Government’s skills sector initiatives.

VET Stakeholder Committee membership

Members will meet monthly through to June 2023.

Communiqué for the COAG Skills Council Meeting (20 September 2019)

The inaugural meeting of the COAG Skills Council issued a Communique available here, and discussed both the Braithwaite and the Joyce Reviews of VET and how they have highlighted the importance of training providers being helped to understand their obligations, while ensuring that “regulatory decisions are transparent”.

Skills Ministers agreed on key priorities to ensure Australian vocational education and training (VET) is a responsive, dynamic and trusted sector that delivers an excellent standard of education and training. It agreed on reform priorities and discussed short, medium and long term areas for action to inform the delivery of a shared reform roadmap to COAG in early 2020. The Council tasked skills officials with developing the draft roadmap for consideration at the next Council meeting in November 2019.

  • Members agreed on three future priorities for VET system improvements:

  • Relevance – actions in this area will ensure that VET is relevant and responsive to the job market, employers, industry and learners.

  • Quality – actions in this area will support public confidence in the quality and value of VET for students throughout their lives and move it to parity with the higher education system.

  • Accessibility – actions in this area will ensure all prospective students and employers can access suitable information and training when and where it is required, and include a specific focus on supporting access for disadvantaged Australians


The COAG Skills Council agreed on the importance of placing learners, from every background, at the centre of VET reform. Members also agreed that industry taking greater responsibility for the skills and training of their workforce will be central to the achievement of the COAG vision for VET.

A key topic of discussion was that effective regulation is central to the quality of and confidence in the VET sector. The COAG Skills Council agreed agreed that the national regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) should improve its engagement with the VET sector and expand its educative role.

VET ministers announce changes to the Australian Skills Quality Authority


Sharing the most recent announcement from the Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business and The Hon Steve Irons MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships.

The Australian Government today announced reforms to the agency responsible for regulating the vocational education and training sector,  the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the reforms respond to key recommendations of the Braithwaite and Joyce Reviews, including supporting ASQA to expand its scope to adopt a more educative approach to lift quality in the delivery of vocational education and training (VET). 

“Improving the quality of VET is a priority of the Australian Government, and this includes ensuring the sector’s regulatory environment is reasonable, transparent and effective,” Minister Cash said.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons MP, said the Government has set a strong direction for the future of VET.

“With appropriate regulatory reforms, we can deliver a vocational education sector that provides workforce skills and relevant up-to-date qualifications that are well-matched to the evolving opportunities of Australia’s modern economy.”

As the national regulator for Australia’s VET sector, ASQA regulates training providers to ensure they meet nationally approved quality standards.

“I am keen to ensure that training organisations are well placed to understand their requirements and that the regulator has the right tools and information to regulate them effectively,” Minister Cash said.

“As part of these changes Mark Paterson AO, the Chief Commissioner of ASQA, has decided the proposed shift in direction for ASQA provides an appropriate time for him to step down and pass responsibility for managing the next phase of ASQA’s evolution to others,” Minister Cash said.

“I would like to thank Mark for the leadership he has provided to ASQA since January 2017, including managing the removal of a large number of poor quality training providers that arose as a result of past practices and the VET FEE-HELP debacle.”
ASQA Commissioner Saxon Rice will act in the role of Chief Commissioner as of 7 October 2019.