Australian Government’s new Deregulation Task Force announced

 COAG agreed to work together to reduce regulatory and bureaucratic barriers across the federation so that businesses can grow and create more jobs. Leaders committed to improving the design and efficiency of business regulation to support jobs and investment in the interests of the community.

The Commonwealth’s Deregulation Task Force will work with state, territory and local governments, and businesses themselves, to identify and address the most significant regulatory barriers to investment for selected industries.

A famous quote by the Honourable Michaelia Cash, from a recent Business Leader Summit organised by Australia’s largest business network – the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was “I say this unashamedly…We will ensure we deliver to you a VET system that has industry at the heart. Because if the industry is not at the heart of VET in Australia we are not as a Government delivering to you the skills you so desperately need”

Stakeholders in Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector are expecting to see a number of critical improvements from the new Deregulation Task Force and national regulator implement initiatives aimed at slashing red tape. The main areas where we would like to see improvement are:

  • a delegated regulatory authority to reward high-performing RTOs

  • automatic updating of equivalent training package qualification without the need to apply to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and pay a fee

  • a freeze in fees and charges, and

  • enhanced guidance and information on how to comply with the required Standards.

These are the same items discussed and agreed upon in late 2015 by the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP, Minister for Vocational Education and Skills .

We are expecting the Commonwealth’s Deregulation Task Force to be focussed on:

  • the effect of red tape on the economy and community, and how it impacts on private and public education

  • the effect of restrictions and prohibitions on business, on the economy and on the community

  • If ASQA is operating fairly, effectively and efficiently


The purpose of the Regulator Performance Framework (RPF) is to encourage regulators to undertake their functions with the minimum impact necessary to achieve the regulatory objectives, and to report objectively on the outcomes of their efforts to administer regulation fairly, effectively and efficiently.

In meeting this purpose, the Regulator Performance Framework established six outcomes-based key performance indicators articulating the Government’s overarching expectations of regulator performance, of which the Australian Skills Quality Authority is required to report and measure itself against, being:

  1. KPI 1: Regulators do not unnecessarily impede the efficient operation of regulated entities

  2. KPI 2: Communication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective

  3. KPI 3: Actions undertaken by regulators are proportionate to the regulatory risk being managed

  4. KPI 4: Compliance and monitoring approaches are streamlined and co-ordinated

  5. KPI 5: Regulators are open and transparent in their dealings with regulated entities

  6. KPI 6: Regulators actively contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks

Australian Skills Quality Authority or any other VET regulatory body must work on the model of promoting and encouraging continuous improvement of Registered Training Organisations. Quality, industry-focussed, student-centred training should be the main focus of the national regulator.

ASQA Regulatory strategy 2016–17 and ASQA’s Regulatory Risk Framework

ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority), VET regulator has recently released its regulatory strategy for 2016-2017.  ASQA’s Regulatory Risk Framework, which is part of the published Regulatory Strategy outlines how ASQA fulfils its responsibility by managing risk on two levels:

  1. Operational (provider risk), and
  2. Strategic (systemic risk)


Provider risk continues to be a key focus in ASQA’s regulatory role. ASQA addresses this risk by using data and intelligence to identify and intervene with individual providers. ASQA primarily targets those providers that are exhibiting behaviours that pose significant risk to quality training and assessment.

Systemic risk is defined as any risk likely to exist across the sector or in a concerning proportion of providers. If left untreated, significant risks of this type can have a detrimental impact on the quality of training and assessment for individuals, industry and the wider community and may lead to loss of confidence in the sector.

The Regulatory Strategy 2016–17 focuses on ASQA’s approach to systemic risk. This regulatory strategy is informed by ASQA’s 2015 Environmental Scan, which has identified current and emerging risks through stakeholder consultation, market research and VET data analysis. ASQA has also considered recommendations from the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment1 when developing this strategy. In developing this strategy, ASQA has taken a best practice approach, by using evidence to identify the areas posing the highest systemic risk to Australia’s VET sector. While there are many issues that compete for ASQA’s VET regulation resources, this strategy focuses on the highest risk areas. Targeting systemic risks aims to maximise the positive impact of ASQA’s regulatory resources. The release of this document signals a significant step in the implementation of ASQA’s enhanced risk-based regulatory approach. As a modern risk-based regulator, ASQA will continue its environmental scanning to identify, monitor and evaluate newly emerging risks and communicate our systemic risk priorities to all stakeholders through the publication of an annual regulatory strategy.

The complexity of systemic risks often means that ASQA cannot address the issues alone and effective outcomes require collaboration with policy, funding and regulatory agencies.

Recognising this, in 2016–17 ASQA will focus on:

  • Strengthening collaboration and coordinating responses with state, territory and Australian Government funding, regulatory and program agencies. A risk-based approach requires agile regulatory responses to providers with poor compliance profile.


To address this, ASQA will also focus on:

  • Developing an enhanced regulatory approach that utilises a broader suite of regulatory tools to deal with providers. ASQA’s strategic reviews have been successful in investigating and defining the size, nature and causes of the problems in particular sectors. These reviews have produced recommendations for effectively targeting treatment of the VET problems in these industries (which include the childcare, aged care, equine and security industries).


As such, ASQA is

  • Continuing to work with its industry partners and other regulators to implement the recommendations from these reviews.


For more Information, please visit ASQA’s website

The new VET loan scheme to exclude shonky providers?

The new VET loan scheme to exclude shonky providers?

From 1 January 2017 VET FEE‑HELP will cease and VET Student Loans will commence. 

Tougher restrictions on eligible private college courses, loan caps and student engagement requirements are among the changes due to come into force in 2017. The new scheme will have a maximum $15,000 cap on loans, which is less than the typical price for, say, a diploma of nursing. The existing VET FEE-HELP scheme has no loan caps. Under the new system, courses will be sorted into bands with fees covered by the government capped at $5000, $10,000 or $15,000 depending on delivery costs. 

Public VET providers, including TAFEs, will automatically be able to offer the revamped commonwealth loans but all private providers will have to reapply to be eligible.

The government’s plans also include bans on using recruitment brokers or cold-calling potential students; requirements for students to log in to an online student loans portal to ensure they are active and legitimate and a much higher bar for providers that want to offer government loans, including examining their relationships with industry.

Senator Birmingham wants the new system of VET student loans in place by the start of next year.

If legislation passes the Senate, the new VET Student Loans program will start on January 1. The 144,000 students with existing VET FEE-HELP loans will be grandfathered to the end of 2017.

A compulsory review will be held after 12 months of the new scheme with the minister able to change the loan caps at any time during the first year. 

Do you have any questions regarding VET FEE‑HELP? Contact one of our consultants at 1800 266 160  to assist you with meeting your compliance and quality assurance requirements.