Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash)
The purpose of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment (Governance and Other Matters) Bill 2020 ( the Bill ) is to amend the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 ( NVETR Act ) to strengthen the governance arrangements in relation to the National VET Regulator. The amendments support consistent, fit for purpose, and effective regulation and will enhance stakeholder engagement in Australia's vocational education and training ( VET ) sector.
The amendments build on reforms introduced in the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2019 and address a number of recommendations of the 2018 Braithwaite review, 'All eyes on quality: Review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 report' as well as recommendations in the 2019 Joyce review, 'Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia's Vocational Education and Training System'. Both reviews called on the National VET Regulator to adopt a greater educative role and improve its regulatory approach.
In late 2019, regulatory experts were engaged to conduct a rapid review of the Australian Skills Quality Authority's ( ASQA's ) regulatory practices, governance, and culture. Amendments in the Bill reflect the expert advice provided on governance from the first phase of the rapid review. These changes will support improvements to the National VET Regulator's governance arrangements, regulatory practice and other critical areas of business such as strategy, communication and sector engagement.
The amendments revise the National VET Regulator's governance structure, replacing the existing Chief Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer ( CEO ) and two Commissioners with a single independent statutory office holder. The National VET Regulator will be appointed by the Governor-General on a full time basis and will be the agency head for the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999. Further, the National VET Regulator may also be known as the CEO of ASQA. These amendments will enable the National VET Regulator to perform a role more consistent with that of an agency head, including leading the long and short term strategy and making top-level managerial decisions that determine the objectives, resources and policies of ASQA. The Bill makes a series of consequential amendments to the NVETR Act, to give effect to the change to the governance structure.
To support the National VET Regulator, the Bill also establishes the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Advisory Council ( Advisory Council ). The Advisory Council will provide the National VET Regulator with access to expert advice regarding the functions of the Regulator.
The governance measures in the Bill will strengthen the National VET Regulator's capacity to implement changes to the Regulator's practice and efficiently manage the volume of regulatory decisions in the Regulator's purview. Further, the amendments will enhance the National VET Regulator's capacity to engage with the sector and facilitate greater capacity for internal review of decisions for NVR registered training organisations ( NVR RTOs ).
In addition to governance measures, the Bill includes amendments to improve information sharing under the NVETR Act in relation to information collected by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research ( NCVER ) under the Data Provision Requirements 2012 ( Data Provision Requirements ). These amendments will facilitate information flows to support more informed policy development and funding allocation for VET.
FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT
The Bill has no financial impact on NVR RTOs. $18.1 million has been committed by the Australian Government through Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2019-20 to the reform of ASQA.