Feds will still fund training regulator

In the 2018-19 Federal Budget the government announced ASQA would move to a full-cost recovery funding model from 1 July 2020 – it’s not as bad as that sounds


 Naively, I assumed full-cost recovery meant a regulatory agency needed to recoup all of its costs from the organisations it regulated.

That seemed to me like madness. And not just me, as a former ministerial advisor remarked when we discussed the issue, “Imagine if the police operated on a full-cost recovery basis? Their attention would be focussed on issuing speeding tickets and the like, to ensure they had a steady revenue stream to fund their activities. How would they fund major criminal investigations?”

A sensible observation. I was therefore very pleased to read the  details of the ASQA transition to full cost-recovery consultation paper, especially Section 7.4, which proposes the government would continue to meet some of ASQA’s costs. The suggested activities government would fund seem sensible to me. And to return to the earlier analogy – they would save ASQA focussing all of their time on writing speeding tickets.

One issue that isn’t tackled in the consultation paper though is how ASQA will improve its regulatory approach (as ministers have directed) without the imposition of significant new fees?

I have been concerned about this issue and was pleased to sit down for two recent podcast interviews with experts who have previously worked in VET regulatory agencies to pick their brains. They had some great suggestions – you can listen here.

Claire Field is the host of the ‘What now? What next? Insights into Australia’s tertiary education sector’ podcast.


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