IHEA Optimistic On Departmental Consolidation

Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA) welcomes the creation of the new Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and is optimistic that the consolidation of Commonwealth agencies can deliver benefits for students and providers in Australia’s tertiary education sector.

IHEA looks forward to the consolidated Department enabling future rationalisation of the regulatory frameworks which govern tertiary education in Australia.

The new Department of Education, Skills and Employment will benefit students pursuing lifelong educational opportunities by enabling implementation of innovative courses and pathways which are better targeted at graduate employment and the jobs of the future. Implementing a new Australian Qualifications Framework to better serve Australia’s national interests will be an important focus of the consolidated Department.  

The new administrative arrangements facilitate a renewed focus on the best regulation and management of Australian tertiary education and the alignment of registration and reporting processes and timeframes across vocational and higher education. Better alignments will produce administrative efficiencies for the Commonwealth, and create consistent compliance requirements for providers operating in the sector.

In light of this announcement, IHEA restates its position that the Government’s tertiary education regulators (TEQSA and ASQA) could be consolidated in future into a single tertiary sector regulator constituted on the established regulatory principles that currently underpin higher education regulation: risk, proportionality and necessity.

Consolidation of Australia’s tertiary education sector regulators would streamline regulation of the sector, reduce red tape and significantly increase the ease of compliance for dual-sector providers. The large number of IHEA members who offer both vocational and higher education course options welcome the efficiencies and opportunities that emerge from the new arrangements.

IHEA CEO Simon Finn: 

“Independent Higher Education Australia welcomes the announcement of a consolidated Department of Education, Skills and Employment. Students and the broader tertiary education sector will benefit from the synergies enabled by a unified agency.

Australia’s tertiary education sector requires a streamlined and simple regulatory environment to continue competing on the world stage. The first priority of the consolidated Department should be rationalising registration and reporting processes across the entire tertiary education sector to implement efficiencies and reduced administrative burden on both the Commonwealth and providers operating in the sector.” 

“Creating a one-stop-shop for providers by consolidating TEQSA and ASQA into a single regulator is a logical future step for Australia’s booming tertiary education sector. IHEA will continue to advocate for a single regulator to drive quality and best practice across the tertiary sector through the application of the established higher education regulatory principles of risk, proportionality and necessity.”

“IHEA members overwhelmingly want clear and consistent regulatory requirements, so they can focus on investing in course quality, meeting growing student demand for education services and supporting students to succeed”

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