The Albanese Government is strengthening rules to ensure that people who own, operate and manage Registered Training Organisations meet higher and broader ‘fit and proper persons’ standards, an initiative designed to eliminate the minority of non-genuine operators that profit from students and fail to provide the standards of education and training that students deserve.
These changes, agreed to by State and Territory Skills Ministers today in Perth, will provide VET regulators with stronger powers to scrutinise people managing, overseeing and controlling Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
The changes allow the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) more scope to keep substandard, unethical, dishonest or non-compliant practices out of the VET sector,
Owners and senior managers at RTOs are required to comply with the ‘Fit and Proper Person’ Requirements as a condition of registration.
The Albanese Government is committed to protecting students and to building the integrity of the sector, which is why we are making these changes that were recommended to the previous Government in 2018, but not acted on.
There will be an expanded list of matters that will be considered when determining if a person is fit and proper, including a broad power for ASQA to consider conduct that suggests a deliberate pattern of unethical behaviour.
Other expanded powers include:
• allowing ASQA to consider instances where an offence was proven but no conviction was recorded;
• allowing ASQA to consider a persons management history and past breaches of registration
• expanding the types of evidence which can be considered that show false and misleading conduct by providers; and
• allowing ASQA to consider whether the provider has been found not to be fit and proper under an expanded range of federal and state laws, not merely in the VET sector.
Quotes attributable to Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills, and Training
“We’re taking action to implement changes to strengthen the quality and integrity of the sector and student welfare is our highest priority.”
“These changes will better enforce higher ethical standards for people entrusted to operating the registered training organisations that are vital to overcoming the current skills crisis.
“We are determined to support the Commonwealth and State agencies that are collaborating to address serious problems and to provide them the powers they need to ensure non-genuine VET providers are eliminated from the system.
“We are working with states and territories, experts and sector leaders to ensure that ASQA as independent regulator has all the regulative and legislative tools it needs at its disposal.”
“Ensuring we have a strong, high quality VET sector is critical to teaching and training our existing and future workforce.”