The national regulatory system was established through:
- a referral of powers to the Commonwealth from most states (except Victoria and Western Australia)
- the exercise of the Commonwealth’s constitutional powers in the regulation of vocational education and training in the territories.
On 1 July 2011, ASQA became the regulatory body for the vocational education and training (VET) sector for the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and New South Wales. ASQA also assumed responsibility for regulating certain registered training organisations (RTOs) in Victoria and Western Australia from that date, specifically:
- those RTOs that offer courses in any state or territory other than Victoria or Western Australia, including by offering online courses, and
- those RTOs that offer courses to overseas students.
ASQA became the regulatory body for the VET sector in Tasmania after state referral legislation was proclaimed on 15 February 2012, the regulatory body for the VET sector in South Australia on 26 March 2012, and the regulatory body for the VET sector in Queensland on 1 July 2012.
ASQA was established on 1 July 2011 through the enactment of the:
- National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011
- National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Consequential Amendments) Act 2011, and
- National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Transitional Provisions) Act 2011.
ASQA's regulation of Australia's vocational education and training sector is supported by a framework of legislation and standards.
This framework includes the establishing legislation above, as well as the VET Quality Framework, the Standards for Accredited Courses, and legislation relating to the provision of courses to overseas students.
The VET Quality Framework comprises the:
- Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015—standards to ensure nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment across Australia's VET system
- Fit and Proper Person Requirements—which determine requirements for people with some control or influence over the operation of a registered training organisation. For the purpose of subsection 186(2) of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, the Fit and Proper Person Requirements are at schedule 3
- Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements 2011—which relate to the requirement for registered training organisations' and applicant training organisations' ability to meet financial viability requirements
- Data Provision Requirements 2012—which sets out the requirement for providers to supply ASQA with data upon request, and to submit quality indicator data annually
- Australian Qualifications Framework—which is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.
Education for overseas students (ESOS) legislation
As an ESOS agency under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act), ASQA assesses the registration and re-registration of courses on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and monitors providers against the: