Featured Article: Preparing your ASQA CEO annual declaration response

Submission of annual declaration:

RTOs must submit their annual declaration on compliance by midnight 31 March. ASQA has sent an email on Friday 21 February 2020 to each RTO’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO)containing a unique URL to the RTOs survey. A reminder email was also sent by ASQA to CEO’s on Friday 13 March 2020 advising of the requirement.

If the CEO’s email has not been received by your RTO check your details in ASQAnet urgently and take action to rectify any errors with contact details.  Notify ASQA immediately so the email with the survey link can be sent to the CEO. Not receiving the email is not an excuse to fail to submit your RTO’s declaration as it is a requirement of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (SRTOs) 2015.

RTO obligations:

RTOs are required to adhere to Clauses 2.1; 8.1; and 8.4 specifically in the SRTOs 2015:

Clause 2.1

The RTO ensures it complies with these Standards at all times, including where services are being delivered on its behalf. This applies to all operations of an RTO within its scope of registration.

Clause 8.1 

The RTO cooperates with the VET Regulator:

  • by providing accurate and truthful responses to information requests from the VET Regulator relevant to the RTO’s registration
  • in the conduct of audits and the monitoring of its operations
  • by providing quality/performance indicator data
  • by providing information about substantial changes to its operations or any event that would significantly affect the RTO’s ability to comply with these standards within 90 calendar days of the change occurring
  • by providing information about significant changes to its ownership within 90 calendar days of the change occurring
  • in the retention, archiving, retrieval and transfer of records.

Clause 8.4

The RTO provides an annual declaration on compliance with these Standards to the VET [vocational education and training] regulator and in particular whether it:

  1. currently meets the requirements of the Standards across all its scope of registration and has met the requirements of the Standards for all AQF [Australian Qualifications Framework] certification documentation it has issued in the previous 12 months
  2. has training and assessment strategies and practices in place that ensure that all current and prospective learners will be trained and assessed in accordance with the requirements of the Standards.

CEO responsibility:

Whether the CEO completes the declaration on their own or in consultation with RTO compliance staff the responses provided should be honest and accurate. Therefore, reliable sources of data must be referred to when responding to each question asked in the survey. Information from the RTOs internal audits, reviews or quality checks are critical indicators of the RTOs past and current compliance status. If your organisation has adhered to Clause 2.1. by ensuring it is compliant with the SRTOs 2015 at all times you should have been ‘systematically’ monitoring the RTO’s compliance and have analysed the data obtained by your compliance activities.


If your RTO does not have current and reliable data on its compliance status you should follow ASQA’s advice provided in the correspondence sent to the CEO and utilise ASQA’s Self-Assessment Tool to assist in preparation of the annual declaration.  If your RTO does not have the capability or resources to undertake the self-assessment or preparation of the annual declaration then seek assistance from experts like EDministrate to ensure you fully comply with ASQA’s requirements.







Record penalty of $26m ordered against failed training provider

Record penalty of $26m ordered against failed training provider
Record penalty of $26m ordered against failed training provider
Record penalty of $26m ordered against failed training provider
Cornerstone Investment Aust Pty Ltd (in liq) trading as Empower had its RTO registration cancelled by ASQA in 2016. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Empower for their questionable recruitment and enrolment practices of their online vocational education and training (VET) courses. Only 42 of the over 4,000 consumers enrolled in its VET courses completed their course. The Federal Court of Australia’s recent order for a record $26.5 million against Empower comprises a penalty of A$25 million in relation to its system of unconscionable conduct, and A$100,000 for each instance of unconscionable conduct in respect of individual consumers (with none ‘any less disgraceful’ than the other).