There are well recognised variances in the pricing states/territories set for VET courses/national qualifications in their respective jurisdictions.  In some instances, the same VET course/qualifications may have a price set of up to 40% lower in one jurisdiction compared to another although the same quality of outcomes is expected to be delivered by an RTO anywhere in Australia.  The lower price may not necessarily be as a result of a lower standard of living in a locality or region.  In fact, the lowest prices setter may have the highest standard of living costs in the country.

For example, the Certificate III Agriculture in under the current NSW funding model is set at $9,000.  This compares to $13,000 in Victoria.  The Certificate III in Rural Operations is $8,250 in NSW and $7,070 in Victoria.  This example serves to illustrate the discrepancies in comparable funding across the states and territories.


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To this end it is heartening to learn that there is considerable work underway behind the scenes that may bring to light this issue and draw attention to the need to facilitate a new efficient and fair funding model for nationally approved VET courses, and more specifically national trade-based qualifications that often require greater resourcing allocations.  The National Skills Commission (NSC) has a duty under its charter to provide advice to the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business and the Secretary of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).  Two of six critical functions under its remit relate to funding matters:

  • efficient prices for VET courses; and
  • the public and private return on government investment in VET qualifications.

Under this remit the NSC, “has been tasked by the Australian Government to develop national efficient prices for VET courses.”  The NSC website states, “Currently VET prices, subsidies and fees vary considerably around Australia, with students paying different prices for the same course.

A more nationally consistent approach to pricing provides the opportunity for simpler, more transparent VET pricing arrangements that balance consistency with local needs.

As part of the NSC’s work to develop efficient prices, we are surveying RTOs about their costs of delivering training.

This project is critical to ensure that the work delivered by the NSC reflects the experiences of RTOs and that any chosen pricing model reflects both quality outcomes for learners and value for money for governments and users.

Input from a range of RTOs is essential because an efficient price is not the lowest price. It is the price that provides the quality outcome that students, industry and governments expect and deserve.

The NSC has commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to assist us with this work.”

Part of the engagement process is to involve RTOs.  The NSC says Deloitte Access Economics will assist with collecting information and data from selected RTOs on their costs of delivering training.  They will engage with RTOs in consultation with the NSC.

Process for selecting RTOs for the study:

The NSC provides the following information in relation to the process and method that is being used to select RTOs to participate in this study.

“The NSC commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to develop a sample based on key RTO characteristics such as provider type, size and geography. A quality benchmark may also be applied to identify appropriate providers to sample.

The study will help ensure the chosen pricing model reflects the actual costs incurred by providers. By participating, RTOs will contribute to the evidence base from which efficient prices are developed and have access to benchmark data that will assist them to benchmark their own cost structures.

What type of data and information will be collected from RTOs?

RTOs will be asked to provide data and information relevant to the cost of their delivery of VET qualifications. This includes qualification-specific costs and other costs, such as central and capital costs that are allocated to a qualification. RTOs will also be asked to provide information on levels of training activity by qualification and information on student cohorts and the costs of any specific programs provided to those cohorts. RTOs will also be asked to provide information about the costs associated with delivering a range of VET courses in regional, rural and remote locations.

This will allow the NSC to produce price estimates that take account of the varying costs of delivering training to different cohorts of students, in different locations and in different modes.

The NSC will take into account choice and access to VET across regional, rural and remote Australia in particular in its efficient price framework. Wherever possible, NSC and Deloitte Access Economics will attempt to pre-fill data to minimise the response burden on RTOs.”

The NSC encourages interested parties that have any questions about the NSC’s efficient pricing work, to contact the NSC at or contact Deloitte Access Economics directly at for all queries relating to the completion of the study.

One hopes that the important trade-based qualifications/VET courses have appropriate RTO representation in the study, so as to ensure an efficient and fair VET pricing model is identified and then validated in the market for its veracity.  Moreover, that the Commission is open and transparent of its findings and that it uses its enormous resources, presence and goodwill to leverage and bring about change that provides for quality outcome that are comparable and good for all Australians, no matter where they live.  In particular, that NSW citizens are not left behind and disadvantaged in building a quality and skilled workforce now and into the future.

The NSW Agrifood ITAB encourages NSW RTOs to voice their concerns and suggestions to the Commission via the earlier listed emails to ensure pertinent information is drawn attention to.

For more information regarding the study, visit the NSC website at

With respect to the study visit the following URL:  NSC VET-EFFICIENT-PRICING STUDY

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