Well, we have an interesting first six months ahead for the VET sector. Of particular note is the looming transition of regulation in Tasmania and South Australia to ASQA. ASQA has certainly geared up for this and the number of RTOs involved in those States (on a national level) is quite small.
QLD on the other hand is in a whole different ball game. At last count there were 1528 current RTOs in QLD. That number is growing fast. The combination of a cheap application fee, light regulation and a stalling transition to ASQA is seeing a rush at the gate for QLD RTO registrations. I base this on the increased volume of enquiries we receive for registrations in QLD.
The effect of the upcoming QLD election on the transition is also something to look out for. The QLD legislation was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 11 October 2011. The Bill is currently with the Industry, Education, Training and Industrial Relations Committee for review. To enable the transition to ASQA to occur, the Bill needs to come through this process with amendments and then be presented to parliament to be turned into law. This must occur before the 30th June 2011 or the QLD determination that it will be a referring jurisdiction will expire:
“On 1 July 2011, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations made a determination under section 7 National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cwlth) that Queensland would not become a non-referring jurisdiction. This determination gives Queensland until 30 June 2012 to refer power or it will become a non-referring jurisdiction.”
Vocational Education and Training (Commonwealth Powers) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2011, Explanatory Notes
If this happens, all bets are off and it will be back to the drawing board to establish a new determination. It also has likely implications for the NVR Transition Provisions. Do the LNP support the referral of powers to the Commonwealth? Will the passing of the legislation be a priority if the LNP take government? These are big questions and I am sure the folks at ASQA are asking themselves the same things.
Important dates to note:
- 14 February 2012 – Next scheduled sitting for QLD Parliament (two weeks away!)
- 24 February 2012 – QLD likely to enter into Caretaker Government
- 24 March 2012 – QLD Election (LNP tipped to romp it in!)
- 16 April 2012 – Likely return of Parliament after the school holidays
- 30 June 2012 – QLD determination expires!
Can they do it? I hope so! There are lots of businesses making decisions based on the advised transition arrangements. Nationally consistent regulation will benefit the QLD VET sector immeasurably.