The Commonwealth Government has released the rapid review of the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) governance, culture and regulatory practices, and announced that it will support all 24 recommendations.
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash, said the rapid review provided a clear blueprint that would help equip vocational education and training (VET) students for jobs, especially during the recovery phase from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During this critical period of unprecedented disruption to the labour market we are prioritising quality improvements for VET including building confidence in ASQA’s role to ensure regulation of the sector is reasonable, transparent and effective,” Minister Cash said.
“ASQA has already taken steps to ease some of the pressure on the sector due to the
COVID-19 pandemic by reducing the regulatory burden on VET providers, ensuring more flexible approaches to training can be delivered and that students continue to receive high quality education and training,” Minister Cash said.
“In addition, the Government’s recent announcement on the waiving of ASQA fees and charges, and the delay to ASQA’s move to full cost recovery, will help maintain the cash flow of VET providers and support students to train,” Minister Cash said.
Community Colleges Australia comment
“CCA has closely followed the deliberations about ASQA’s future directions, and we welcome the approach,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges Australia.
“CCA strongly endorses ASQA’s extra focus on collaboration, consultation, education and stakeholder liaison. Regulators must achieve a fine balance between ensuring industry quality and encouragement,” Dr Perlgut said.
“CCA is particularly keen that ASQA policies and auditing practices acknowledge the special value that Australia’s not-for-profit community education providers bring to our VET system. Our members are extremely low-risk and do some of the ‘heavy lifting’ in engagement of the country’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners. With the Coronavirus emergency, disadvantaged groups and individuals, many newly unemployed, are growing in number,” Dr Perlgut said.
“Today’s report accepts the ASQA full cost recovery model. CCA believes that supporting the regulation of Australia’s VET sector is more than the sector’s responsibility. It is in part a significant ‘public good’, given the importance of regulation to the four million Australians who participate in VET every year,” Dr Perlgut said.
“While ASQA is waiving some fees and charges until June 2021, these costs are still on the books. All of us benefit from ASQA’s activities,” Dr Perlgut said.