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RTO and Education

» RTO and Education

Registered Training Organisations and Education Law

The vocational education and training (VET) sector is highly regulated. For registered training organisations (RTOs), complying with regulations is one part of doing business. It is therefore incumbent upon the RTO to engage the support of specialist lawyers, who can provide practical guidance about the regulatory landscape that may impact their business.

The principal for Markus Earl Legal, Ray Earl, has extensive experience in RTO compliance and regulations, with more than 18 years’ experience in the VET sector. Most recently, he also worked for a federal regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as an enforcement lawyer.

Ray Earl

The national regulator and its powers

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for Australia's VET sector. They regulate RTOs and accredited courses. ASQA's regulation of Australia's VET sector is supported by a framework of legislation and standards. Importantly, the empowering Act is the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cth). ASQA’s graduated approach to compliance is to educate and encourage, direct compliance and if deemed necessary apply sanctions and at the highest level (where there is actual or potential harm to students) then apply court action (refer to ASQA Approach to Compliance – Regulatory Practice Guide, Version 1.1 April 2021).

The regulator has a number of powers under the Act, including (non-exhaustive):

  • Issue and cancel VET qualifications;
  • Investigative powers;
  • Search and seizure powers;
  • Injunctions;
  • Suspension of all or part of an RTO’s scope of registration;
  • Cancel an RTOs registration; and
  • Take other enforcement action such as civil penalties and criminal proceedings.

Legal advice and representation

Markus Earl Legal provide legal advice and representation in the following areas of RTO and education law to our clients on:

  • Reviewing and analysing a regulator’s decision;
  • Advice on options;
  • ASQA VET Quality Framework compliance, responses to ASQA regulatory audits;
  • Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) compliance, responses to ASQA regulatory audits;
  • Responding to ASQAs performance assessments (previously regulatory audits) in relation to issues arising;
  • Negotiating with the regulator;
  • Applications for reconsideration of a reviewable decision;
  • Preparing Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) review application;
  • Preparing AAT submissions;
  • Appearing for you at the AAT;
  • Making an application to the AAT for a review of the cancellation decision;
  • Making an application to the AAT for a stay order of the ASQA decision;
  • Working with RTO consultants;
  • Applications for judicial reviews through the Federal Circuit Court;
  • Appearing for you at the Federal Circuit Court;
  • Briefing counsel (if necessary);
  • Providing compliance advice regarding the VET Quality Framework and ESOS Framework; and
  • Regulation and compliance with relation to RTOs.

Markus Earl Legal are highly experienced in RTO and education law. To find out how we can assist with your legal issue, contact us to book a free 45-minute no obligation phone discussion to speak to one of our lawyers. During the conversation we will ask initial questions and based on your response we will provide you general advice on a plan in relation to your RTO matter, including the next steps should you decide to retain our services.

Non-Legal Compliance Advice

Our principal, Raymond Earl has over 18 years’ experience working in the Vocational Training and Education sector in several roles including: CEO of two private education providers, senior manager at a dual sector public education provider, regulatory compliance auditor, trainer/assessor and management consultant.

Under the business name, Skynet Education (different legal entity to that of Markus Earl Legal), Ray offers non-legal advice in the areas of services and documentation regarding compliance with the VET Quality Framework, ESOS Framework and the associated legislative instruments. Ray may also be retained to complete performance compliance assessments of the RTO or business.