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Australian Government bolsters skills and training with $68m of new funding and new standards

8 October 2014

The Australian Government is beefing up the ability of the national training regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), with an additional $68 million in funding over four years to maintain the highest standards in the skills and training sector as new training standards come into effect.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said ASQA’s focus would be on the implementation of updated training standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) from early next year, which have been designed to maintain quality standards while also removing excessive paperwork and red tape.

“The Government is serious about its reform agenda to create a more streamlined and industry-focussed skills and training system that delivers job-ready graduates,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“We’ve committed more than $68 million to bolster ASQA’s capacity to implement the new standards and provide a risk-based approach to regulation, the ability to crack down on serious breaches and to ensure high quality training providers have the autonomy to spend more time skilling the workers of the future.

“This is the first time ASQA has been properly funded to focus its attention on serious breaches of standards, after being forced to act as a book-keeper under the previous Labor Government.

“There will be no letup in quality standards under the Government’s reforms and no tolerance of unscrupulous activities, in particular from brokers.

“ASQA will also hold national information sessions on the new standards in both capital cities and major regional centres to ensure RTOs have full details about the changes and expectations for service delivery.

“To reduce the regulatory burden on training providers, ASQA is enhancing the information and guidance it provides to assist RTOs in complying with the required national standards.

“By providing more information about the standards and how ASQA will regulate against them, RTOs and course owners will find it easier to comply.”

The sessions will provide information about the new national standards being implemented from 1 January 2015 for prospective training providers and 1 April 2015 for existing providers.

Twenty-seven RTO information sessions will be held in 17 metropolitan and regional cities on the following dates:

•          Canberra – Nov 5

•          Perth – Nov 6 & 7

•          Darwin – Nov 6

•          Alice Springs – Nov 18

•          Sydney – Nov 10, 18 & 21 & Dec 1

•          Wollongong – Nov 11

•          Coffs Harbour –Nov 20

•          Mount Gambier – Nov 12

•          Adelaide – Nov 13 & 14

•          Brisbane – Nov 19, 25 & 27 & Dec 2

•          Gold Coast – Nov 28

•          Cairns – Nov 21

•          Launceston – Nov 19

•          Devonport – Nov 20

•          Hobart – Nov 21

•          Melbourne – Nov 11, 12 & 18

•          Bendigo – Nov 13

The sessions on November 12 and 27 and December 1 will also be live-streamed over the internet.

All RTOs currently regulated by ASQA will shortly receive an invitation to attend the sessions including details about how to register.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070