Release type: Media Release


Improving the quality of higher education and VET sectors


The Hon Simon Crean MP
Minister for Education
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion

Federal Education Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, Simon Crean, today announced the appointment of four Interim positions to help set up a national system of quality assurance and regulation in the higher education and VET sectors.

Interim Chairs and Interim CEOs have been appointed to the new Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the new National VET Regulator.

“The establishment of these two key agencies is an important step to improve the quality of Australia’s higher education and VET sectors,” Mr Crean said.

“The Australian Government is very strongly committed to providing Australians with the best higher and VET education possible.

“We are making every effort to help students make that vitally important successful transition from study to work.”

Set up in response to theReview of Australian Higher Education, TEQSA’s primary task will be to ensure that students receive a high-quality education from all Australian higher education providers.

TEQSA will register higher education providers, evaluate their performance, protect the quality of international education and streamline current regulatory arrangements.

Professor Denise Bradley AC has been appointed Interim Chair of TEQSA.

“Professor Bradley is extremely well qualified to lead this process, with extensive involvement in national education policy groups for more than 20 years, including as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia, and as Chair of the recentReview of Australian Higher Education,” Mr Crean said.

Mr Ian Hawke has been appointed Interim CEO of TEQSA.“Mr Hawke is an experienced regulator across the higher education and VET sectors and has been closely involved in negotiations on the models for the National VET Regulator and TEQSA,” Mr Crean said.

The introduction of the National VET Regulator is a key initiative to improve the quality of VET as part of the Skills for Sustainable Growth package announced in the 2010-11 Federal Budget.

The Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment last month agreed in principle to an intergovernmental agreement and to drafting instructions for the legislation to establish the regulator.

Ms Kaye Schofield has been appointed Interim Chair of the National VET Regulator.

“Ms Schofield is highly qualified to lead this process, with decades of experience in the VET sector and senior positions in the New South Wales and South Australian Governments,” Mr Crean said.

Mr John Smyth has been appointed Interim CEO of the National VET Regulator.

“Mr Smyth’s extensive experience in senior roles in the VET sector, including his current role as Secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Education, make him very well suited to this role,” Mr Crean said.

Permanent appointments, in line with the governance arrangements specified in the respective legislation, will be made following the passage of the legislation establishing the new organisations.

Further information on the interim appointees is below.

Interim Chair, TEQSA

Denise Bradley AC

Denise Bradley AC

Denise was the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia from 1997 to 2007. In 2008, she chaired the Government’sReview of Australian Higher Education and has been extensively involved in national education policy groups for more than 20 years as a member of the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission, the Higher Education Council of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training and the 2002 Higher Education Review Reference Group.

Denise was also the Foundation Director of the Australian University Quality Agency (AUQA), President and Chair of IDP Education Australia Ltd and member of the Board of Directors of the Business Higher Education Round Table. She is currently President of the Australian College of Educators, Chair of the South Australian Training and Skills Commission and a member of the Education Investment Fund Advisory Board. She is also the Director of Open Universities Australia and a former Chair of the Australian Technology Network of Universities.

Interim CEO, TEQSA

Ian Hawke

Ian Hawke

Ian has worked as a senior executive in the Queensland Department of Education and Training (DET) for the past six and a half years. Over a period of 20 years prior to this, he has worked in senior management roles at the University of Queensland, Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology in areas of strategic planning, higher education policy, academic management and quality assurance.

Ian is currently the Assistant Director General (Tertiary Non-State and Higher Education) which includes responsibility for regulation of higher education and VET, in the Queensland DET. Ian also a Director of Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre, a Board member of AUQA, a subject specialist on the register of the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation and a member of the Oman Accreditation Council’s Register of External Reviewers and the National Quality Council. Ian has extensive experience auditing universities in Australia and abroad. Ian is a member of the TEQSA Expert Reference Group.

Interim Chair, National VET Regulator

Kaye Schofield

Kaye Schofield

Kaye is one of Australia's leading independent commentators, researchers and policy analysts in the field of adult and vocational education. Since 1994, she has led and managed influential assignments at national, state and territory levels including Ministerial inquiries and reviews. She has also undertaken international assignments in USA, the Pacific and in South-East Asia.

Kaye is the Chairperson of the NSW Board of Adult and Community Education and a member of the NSW TAFE Commission Board - positions she has held since 1998. She has been a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust since 1996. She is also a Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Water Resource Management. Past appointments include Commissioner of the Australian Sports Commission, board member of the Australia-Indonesia Institute, Chairperson of SA TAFE Board and Trustee of the Dusseldorp Skills Forum.

Before establishing her firm in 1994, she was the Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Department of Labour, Public Works and Administrative Services and, before that, the CEO of the South Australian Department of Employment and TAFE following a successful career in TAFE college management in NSW.

Interim CEO, National VET Regulator

John Smyth

John Smyth

John is currently Secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Education (DoE) and Chair of theQualifications and Skills for Tasmania Tomorrow SteeringCommittee. Prior to his appointment as Secretary in October 2005, John was Chief Executive Officer of TAFE Tasmania for some 8 years.

John also has had wider experience in the VET sector as Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Territory Employment and Training Authority and was a member of the Board of the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA).