Legislative Requirements

Introduction

Registered Training Organisations (RTO) are subject to legislation pertaining to training and assessment, as well as a business practice. FiT will comply with relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory legislation and regulatory requirements relevant to its intended scope of registration.

FiT will also inform all staff and clients of the legislative and regulatory requirements that affect their duties or participation in vocational education and training. FiT recognises that compliance with legislative requirements underpins the effective implementation of its operations and ensures accountability and transparency of activities of both management and staff.

Complying with legislation

Staff will be advised at induction and kept up-to-date with changes to legislation through monthly management meetings and written correspondence. Policies and procedures and associated tools and templates will be updated to reflect updates to legislation as soon as practical following advice. Any training that is required will be organised in a professional and timely manner. All staff are encouraged to view current legislation online at http://austlii.edu.au.

Examples of legislation relevant to the training business and its staff include but is not limited to:

Commonwealth legislation:
  • Copyright Act 1968 Copyright Amendment online Infringement Act 2018
  • Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988/Privacy Amendment Act 2012/Privacy Regulation 2013 Privacy Amendment Extension of External Dispute Resolution Scheme Exemption Regulations 2019
  • Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 Criminal Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2018
  • Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975 Statute Law Revision Act (No.2) 2015
  • Commonwealth Age Discrimination Act 2004 Statute Update (Regulations References Act 2020)
  • Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 Social Service Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Act 2018
  • National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment (Governance and Other Matters) Act 2020
      • Standards for VET Regulators 2015 Standard for VET Regulators (Amendment) 2017
      • Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) Amendment 2019 (No. 1)

 

Queensland legislation:
  • Child Protection Act 1999 Reprint current from 31 August 2020 to date (accessed 13 October 2020 at 20:13)
  • Disability Act 2006 Reprint current from 15 September 2020 to date (accessed 13 October 2020 at 20:15)
  • Fair Trading Act 1989 Reprint current from 1 September 2019 to date (accessed 13 October 2020 at 20:16)
  • Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 Reprinted as in force on 1 July 2003 (includes commenced amendments up to 2003 Act No. 27)
  • Work Health and safety act 2011 Current

 

Training authorities/regulators:
  • National VET Regulator (NVR) National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment (2020 Measures No. 1) Regulations 2020
  • Department of Education Current
  • Department of Employment Current
  • Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) Current
  • Council of Australian Governments Industry and Skills Council (COAGISC) Current
Work, health and safety policy

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 outlines the requirements of an RTO in establishing and maintaining workplace health and safety standards. The requirements of an RTO as specified in the above mentioned Act are to:

Secure the health, safety and welfare of employees and other persons at work.

  • Eliminate, at the source, risks to health, safety or welfare of employees and other persons at
  • Ensure that the health and safety of members of the public is not placed at risk by the conduct of undertakings by employers and self-employed
  • Provide for the involvement of employees, employers, and organisations representing those persons, in the formulation and implementation of health, safety and welfare

FiT has initiated procedures, policies, guidelines and work instructions, practicing an ongoing commitment to workplace health and safety including each site used for training delivery.

The following presents a strategic overview of FiT’s safety system and provides guidance for meeting the requirements of Work Health and Safety Act on FiT’s premises thereby ensuring a high standard of workplace health and safety at all times.

It is an obligation under legislation that all FiT employees and management contribute to and assist in maintaining workplace health and safety and risk management operations as part of their role within the RTO. FiT management is responsible for providing the following standards as part of its commitment to employees and clients:

  • A safe workplace, with a safe system of work.
  • Adequate workplace health and safety professional development for FiT students, employees, management and stakeholders.
  • Properly maintained facilities and equipment.
  • A clean, tidy, suitably designed workplace with the safe storage of goods.
The following procedures and standards are observed by FiT to achieve a safe working and learning environment:
  • Maintain a safe, clean and efficient working environment.
  • Evacuation plan (fire, bomb, major incident).
  • Emergency control.
  • Accident / incident reporting.
  • Rehabilitation.
  • Risk identification reporting.
  • PPE / chemicals (storage).
  • Manual handling techniques and training.
  • Store and dispose of waste according to WHS regulations.
  • Equipment checks and maintenance.
  • Equipment safe storage.
  • Fire hazards identified and fire prevention.
  • Student safety.
  • Unsafe situations identified and reporting.
  • First aid and safety procedures displayed, for all FiT staff and students to see.
Harassment and discrimination policy

Under Australian law it is a requirement of every workplace to ensure it provides an environment free from all forms of harassment and discrimination, including victimisation and bullying. In doing so, all staff and students are treated fairly and have the opportunity to feel safe, valued and respected.

By definition, harassment includes any form of behaviour that is unwanted, unwelcome or unreciprocated by relevant persons. This may manifest as verbal or physical harassment, but includes any acts that may be perceived as humiliating, offensive, intimidating, threatening, discriminatory or otherwise contributing to an unpleasant workplace or experience for the persons.

At FiT, it is made known that in the event that a person considers that he or she has been or is being harassed, this person should be encouraged to inform the other party that their behaviour is objectionable and should not be continued, provided they are comfortable with confronting the offender. In instances where the person is not comfortable discussing the matter with the offending party, a trainer or other FiT staff member should be informed of the situation. In this case, it becomes the responsibility of the relevant staff to follow FiT policy and procedures to rectify the situation.

All students and staff working with FiT have the right to discuss matters of harassment with the relevant members of staff without making a formal complaint; all discussions are dealt with in confidentiality. The right to lodge a formal complaint of misconduct against the offending party is available and will be actioned according to FiT policy and procedures.

FiT ensures that all staff are adequately trained in dealing with harassment and discrimination in order to fulfil their roles and responsibilities in creating and contributing to a harassment and discrimination-free workplace. In addition to relevant training, FiT management provides opportunities for communication and mentoring amongst staff to ensure that all employees understand and correctly apply the processes and procedures involved in identifying and addressing of all forms of harassment and discrimination.

FiT staff and students should be aware of the following definitions:

Racial harassment

Involves a person or persons being threatened, abused, insulted or taunted in relation to their race, descent, nationality, colour, language, ethnic origin or any other racial characteristic. It may include but is not limited to; derogatory remarks, innuendo or slur, gestures, intolerance, mockery, displays of material prejudice towards a race, racial jokes, discrimination, exclusion, allocation of least favourable jobs or positions, or unfair treatment.

Sexual harassment

Involves any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, which is inappropriate, unwelcome or uninvited. It may include but is not limited to: sexually related physical contact such as kissing, embracing, pinching or other suggestive gestures, intimidation, coercion, requests for or promising of sexual favours, questions about a person’s private or sexual life, sexist or explicit jokes, unwelcome phone calls, emails or other forms of non-work-related communication, offensive noises, or displays of sexually graphic or suggestive material.

Bullying

Involves any behaviour that suggests a real or perceived power over another party, or otherwise undermines a person or group, generally comprised of repeated, persistent acts over a period. It may include, but is not limited to; verbal abuse, physical assault, intimidation, humiliation, unjustified criticism, sarcasm, insults, false or malicious rumours, exclusion or isolation, inflicting unnecessary work stresses, or sabotage of a person’s work or their ability to work by withholding resources or information.

Confidentiality

Relates to privacy of information, ensuring that the information is only accessible to those who have the authority to access it. Within an RTO this may refer to private verbal discussions, student assessments, managerial decisions and legal proceedings.

Discrimination

Involves the unfair or unequal treatment of another person based solely on class or category. Equal opportunity laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, family responsibility, family status, race, religious beliefs, political conviction, gender history, impairment, age or sexual orientation. All forms of victimisation are also treated as a type of discrimination.

Harassment

Involves any behaviour intended to disturb, offend or upset. It may include any unwelcome or uninvited verbal or physical action that results in a person feeling intimidated, offended, humiliated or embarrassed. Equal opportunity laws prohibit harassment on the grounds of sex and race.

Personnel

Refers to all employees and contractors of FiT.

Victimisation

Involves any process that results in the unfavourable treatment of a person on unjust terms. It may include, but is not limited to, unfair punishment, treating a person poorly for their involvement in a complaint, to swindle or defraud a person, adverse changes to another’s work environment, or denial of access to work-related resources.

Specific principles:
  • It is the right of all staff and students to work and study in an environment free of any form of harassment and discrimination.
  • All reports of harassment and discrimination will be treated seriously, in an unbiased, respectful and sensitive manner. Any form of harassment and discrimination is considered unacceptable behaviour and will not be tolerated by FiT.
  • When FiT management is informed of any event involving harassment or discrimination, it is their responsibility to take immediate and appropriate action to address it.
  • In dealing with all complaints, the rights of all individuals involved should be respected and confidentiality should be maintained.
  • It is the intention of FiT management that a process of discussion, cooperation and conciliation will resolve all complaints. The aim is to achieve an acceptable outcome for the involved parties while minimising any potential damage to the organisation.
  • Both the person making the complaint and the person against whom the complaint has been made will receive information, support and assistance in resolving the issue from FiT management.
  • Victimisation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. No person making a complaint or assisting in the investigation of a complaint should be victimised.
  • Harassment or discrimination should not be confused with legitimate comment and advice (including constructive feedback) given appropriately by management or trainers. Managers and trainers should be conscious of how they present their feedback to ensure the message is not misinterpreted.
  • Staff and students should not make any frivolous or malicious complaints. All staff and students are expected to participate in the complaint resolution process in confidence that the procedures are designed to ensure fair resolution.
Working with persons under 18 years of age

Students under 18 years of age may enrol with FiT. According to the law, a child is considered any individual less than 18 years of age.

FiT will ensure that all students are protected from all forms of harm, including bullying, harassment, discrimination and intimidation. All staff are required to report to FiT management any behaviour that can reasonably be considered harmful or potentially harmful to students, or where it is reasonable to believe that a student has been harmed or requires protection from harm.

In cases where allegations or information indicate it is reasonable to believe a student has suffered from or may require protection from harm, FiT will report to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services www.acecqa.gov.au/ngf/national-law-regulations/national-regulations

The initial information that a child protection officer will require is:
  • The name, age and address of the child or young person.
  • The reasons you suspect the child or young person may have experienced or is at risk of experiencing harm.
  • The immediate risk to the child or young person.
  • Contact details. You may remain anonymous; however, it is preferable to provide these details so that the officer can call you if further information is needed.

If allegations may constitute child abuse by a person external to FiT, the FiT CEO will report the matter to the Police or the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

FiT will comply with all relevant State and Federal legislation in the area of working with children.

FiT management recommends that all staff obtain the appropriate Police check for child-related employment. Information is available at: http://afp.gov.au.

Consumer rights

Consumer protection

On 1 January 2011, the Australian Consumer Law commenced and the Trade Practices Act 1974 was repealed and replaced by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The Australian Consumer Law provides for:

  • National consumer protection and fair trading laws.
  • Enhanced enforcement powers and redress mechanisms.
  • A national unfair contract terms law.
  • A new national product safety regime.
  • A new national consumer guarantees law.

Contractual  agreement

Students who enrol in a training program with FiT should be aware that they are entering into a contractual agreement. With a view to ensuring all students are fully aware of their rights and obligations, FiT will design agreements, enrolment forms, service agreements or similar using a logical format and simple English. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Wording that allows the perspective student to know what he/she is agreeing to.
  • Clearly explained disclaimers.
  • No misleading or deceptive behaviour.
  • No actions, omissions or dialogue (written or verbal) that may force or coerce the student.
  • Fair dealings for disadvantaged students.
Privacy principles

The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Privacy Amendment Act) made many significant changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). These changes commenced on 12 March 2014. The Privacy Regulation 2013, made under the Privacy Act, also commenced on 12 March 2014.

Privacy Principles that are strictly applied to all aspects of FiT’s operations include:

Collection

FiT will only collect necessary information pertaining to one or more specific operations. The student will be informed as to the purpose for which details are being collected.

Use and disclosure

FiT will ensure student personal information is not used or disclosed for secondary purposes without obtaining explicit consent from the student unless a prescribed exception applies.

Data quality

FiT will take all reasonable measures to ensure that all students’ personal information that is collected, used or disclosed is accurate, current and complete.

Data security

FiT will take all reasonable measures to ensure all collected students’ personal information is protected from misuse, loss or damage, and that all data and record storage is secure from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

Openness

FiT will maintain documentation which details how students’ personal information is collected, managed and used. When a student makes an enquiry in relation to information collected, FiT will explain what information is held, for what purpose it is held and what procedures outline the collection and use of information.

Access and correction

FiT will allow students access to personal information held in all circumstances unless prescribed exceptions apply. If the student identifies errors within the information, FiT will correct and update to file.

Unique identifiers

FiT will not assign students unique identifiers except when it is necessary for efficiency of operations. Commonwealth Government identifiers, such as Medicare numbers or Tax File Numbers, will only be used for the purposes of which they were issued.

Anonymity

FiT will provide students the opportunity to interact with the business without requiring the student to make their identity known in any circumstances it is practical and possible to do so.

Trans-border data flows

FiT privacy protection principles apply to the transfer of data throughout Australia.

Sensitive information

FiT will request specific consent from a student in circumstances where it is necessary to collect sensitive information. Sensitive information may include, but is not limited to; information relating to a student’s health, criminal record, racial or ethnic background.

Student progress

Students have the right to request information about or have access to their own individual records. FiT trainers and assessors or administration staff will provide the requested information or access. Students also have the right to request a hard copy of their own individual file that can be supplied as a printout from records retained within the data management system.

Please feel free to ask your FiT trainer and assessor or administration staff at any time for a print out of your progress.