COAG Skills Council

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Skills Council is responsible for skills development and national training arrangements, focusing on major policy reforms that require collaboration between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. On 29 May 2020, following the Prime Minister's announcement, arrangements to replace COAG with a new National Federation Reform Council (NFRC) are currently being reviewed.

Current Ministers responsible for skills and training

FederalThe Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business 
 The Hon Steve Irons, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships
States and territories 
Australian Capital TerritoryThe Hon Chris Steel, Minister for Tertiary Education
New South WalesThe Hon Dr (Geoff) Geoffrey Lee, Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education
Northern TerritoryThe Hon Paul Kirby, Minister for Jobs and Training
QueenslandThe Hon Shannon Fentiman, Minister for Training and Skills Development
South AustraliaThe Hon David Pisoni, Minister for Innovation and Skills
 The Hon John Gardner, Minister for Education
TasmaniaThe Hon Jeremy Rockcliff, Minister for Education and Training
VictoriaThe Hon Gayle Tierney, Minister for Training and Skills
 The Hon James Merlino, Minister for the Coordination of Education and Training: COVID-19
Western AustraliaThe Hon Suzanne (Sue) Mary Ellery, Minister for Education and Training

Timeline of Prime Ministers, federal Ministers and the Commonwealth departments responsible for skills and training: 1992-2020

Timeline of COAG Ministerial Councils and its committees and advisory bodies

Timelines of VET policy initiatives and legislation

Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system has transformed over the past 20 years in response to changing economic and societal needs. It has been shaped by labour market changes and reforms, from the development of the national training market to the implementation of national standards for registered training organisations (RTOs) and national frameworks for training products. The most significant reforms have been those on funding. These have reshaped the system by establishing and driving the expansion of the national training market, albeit with eight separate state training systems. Governments have moved from being providers of training, through TAFE institutes, to purchasers.

Timeline of Australian VET policy initiatives 1998-2018

Timeline of VET legislation 1946-2018

VET regulators

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national VET regulator. Registered training organisations (RTOs) in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania come under ASQA's jurisdiction. ASQA is also the regulatory body for some RTOs in Victoria and Western Australia that offer courses to overseas students or to students in states that come under ASQA's jurisdiction.

Training Accreditation Council (TAC)

The Training Accreditation Council (TAC) is the registering and course accrediting body responsible for the quality assurance and recognition of vocational education and training (VET) services in Western Australia.

Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is the statutory authority responsible for ensuring that employers of apprentices and trainees and providers of education and training (including course and qualification owners) meet quality standards, and that information is readily available to support informed choice in education and training.

See also: Getting to know VET overviews: VET regulators

Commonwealth department responsible for skills and training

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is responsible for Australia's national training system. The former Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business was consolidated with the Department of Education to form the new Department of Education, Skills and Employment on 1 February 2020. See the Governing VET in Australia timeline for previous Commonwealth departments responsible for skills and training.

State and territory training authorities

State and territory training authorities are responsible for the operation of the vocational education and training (VET) system within a state or territory. Each state or territory training authority participates in the formulation of national policy, planning and objectives, and promotes and implements the agreed policies and priorities within the state or territory.

Australian Capital TerritorySkills Canberra
New South WalesTraining Services NSW
Northern TerritoryDepartment of Trade, Business and Innovation
QueenslandDepartment of Employment, Small Business and Training
South AustraliaDepartment for Innovation and Skills
TasmaniaSkills Tasmania
VictoriaDepartment of Education and Training
Western AustraliaDepartment of Training and Workforce Development

Commonwealth, state and territory budgets

Commonwealth, state and territory government budgets can be large documents and often include multiple papers. The Budgets section of the VET Knowledge Bank aims to make it easier to locate information that relate to skills and training. Direct links to relevant budget papers are also provided for quick and easy access.

How to cite this page

NCVER (National Centre for Vocational Education Research) 2018, Governance, VET Knowledge Bank, NCVER, Adelaide, <>.

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