Page 3559 - Week 11 - Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Training and Tertiary Education Amendment Bill 2014

Debate resumed from 25 September 2014, on motion by Ms Burch:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (11.49): The opposition will be supporting this bill. The bill amends the Training and Tertiary Education Act 2003 and makes a number of consequential changes to a range of other legislation affecting the delivery of vocational education and higher education in the ACT.

The VET sector has been subject to a number of reforms over the last several years, with most linked to reform of legislation at the federal level. Unlike some other jurisdictions, the delivery of vocational education in the ACT has been well regulated and well delivered. The standard of courses delivered through CIT and the numerous private registered training organisations, RTOs, has generally been of a consistently high quality.

Two major changes in the VET sector have included the establishment of a national VET regulator and TEQSA, the regulator of higher education providers. The national VET regulator, known as the Australian Skills Quality Authority, has, since 2011, been the national regulator of RTOs throughout most states of Australia.

It is suggested that the ACT’s participation in the national VET system has benefits for employers, workers and students, and indeed will allow any qualification achieved here in the ACT to be held in equal recognition everywhere in Australia and hopefully might lead to streamlining in licensing requirements between states. I know in the delivery of RSA, responsible service of alcohol, training, there has been a need for those who wish to work in both ACT and New South Wales licensed premises to get separate licences. I hope the legislation goes some way to eliminating that unnecessary burden for a large number of students who take casual jobs in restaurants and bars.

TEQSA, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, has responsibility for the regulation of higher education providers and accreditation of their courses. With the changes to commonwealth legislation, it is no longer necessary for the ACT to maintain a separate legislative framework for higher education providers, and it is intended to also reduce red-tape duplication.

The minister has already outlined other aspects of the bill, including clarity around the powers and obligations of the Director-General of the Education and Training Directorate in respect of probationary periods for apprenticeships and traineeships. These all seem sensible changes.

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