Dodgy providers can now be fined

DET Media Centre     |     2 April 2015

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Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) breaching standards can now be issued with an immediate fine under the new infringement notice scheme. New laws recently passed in the Senate require anyone, including brokers and other third parties, marketing a vocational education and training (VET) course to clearly identify which RTO is providing the qualification.

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Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said that up until now tafe-qualsthe national regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) could only write warning letters, or take regulatory action such as cancelling or suspending a provider’s registration.  He said  he “hoped” the fines would act as a significant deterrent for training providers taking part in unscrupulous practices.

The infringement notice scheme complements the new laws and allows the Australian Skills Quality Authority to take action against an (RTO) where they, or a marketing agent, fail to provide clear information to a prospective student.

Penalties for the fines range from a couple of thousand dollars to ten thousand for a single breach, and for multiple breaches there is the potential for the ultimate fine to be hundreds of thousands of dollars. ASQA can still take RTOs to court for serious breaches, including where an RTO breaches a condition of its registration, and can suspend or revoke registration of an RTO.

Birmingham said ASQA would now be the “cop on the beat to ensure the integrity and quality of our system”.

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