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Accredited Assessor and RTO Forum 2023 – WHSQ


On 10th October, 2023, our General Manager, Erryn O’Brien, attended the Accredited Assessor and RTO Forum 2023, hosted by the Licencing Operations and Compliance department of the Office of Industrial Relations at Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

The purpose of today’s Forum was to provide licensed  Accredited Assessors with an overview of the Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety, clause 38, which discusses Licencing Framework and what the recommendations are for the future.

The Best Practice Review was an independent review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the WHS Act to ensure that it’s framework protects Queenslanders at work and delivers on the expectation of workers and their families that we are all entitled to go to work and return home safe.

The findings and recommendations of the Review focus not just on the legislation itself, but the way Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has been performing its vital task.

Clause 38 refers to Licensing Framework and there were a number of recommendations outlined in the report.

Specific concerns were raised by stakeholders regarding the quality of HRW training provided by RTO’s including:

  • the shortness of courses
  • limited opportunities in the training to build practical skills
  • RTO’s teaching to the assessment materials instead of covering the breadth of material set out in UoCs and 
  • limited audit activity and intervention by ASQA

Workplace Health & Safety Queensland are proposing to implement:

  1. Regulatory amendments to the WHS Reg 2011 to establish an RTO approval framework
  2. Amend the Act authorising the Regulator to enter into agreements with RTOs and impose conditions
  3. Setting out standards terms of agreement for approved RTOs
  4. Set conditions within the agreement specific to each HRW licence class

RTOs will apply to enter into an agreement with the Regulator to provide:

  • The courses they are seeking to deliver
  • Trainers
  • Third party providers which the RTO will engage to deliver training under the agreement
  • ASQA disciplinary history against RTO and/or executive officers
  • Evidence that the RTO can deliver training to the standard required by the Regulator

Also proposed is minimum hours of practical operation for HRW licences:

  • Prescribed hours of supervised, practical operation for each class – RTO, workplace, or volunteer arragement
  • Supervised by a person licenced to operate in the relevant class
  • Training records must be kept (e.g. Logbook)
  • Time will be counted towards all members of a crew for crew work (scaffolding & rigging)

From the image above you can see that the proposed log book hours for the scaffolding licences are as follows:

  • Basic Scaffolding (SB): 18 hours
  • Intermediate Scaffolding (SI): 24 hours
  • Advanced Scaffoding (SA): 16 hours
So, the Basic Scaffolding licence could still be trained in 5 days, then the student would go and work for 18 hours, supervised and recorded in the log book, then return to the RTO to complete the NAI (National Assessment Instrument) to complete their course after which their licence can be issued. This is not quite where the SAA is headed in terms of increasing the standard of scaffolding training in Australia but it’s a start!
So what’s next? Workplace Health & Safety Queensland propose the following:
  • Initial discussions with stakeholders – finalised
  • Consolidated feedback provided to RTOs – coming weeks
  • Better Regulation Policy requires approval and publication of an Impact Assessment Statement – Likely to be completed by end of 2023
  • Act and Regulation amendments – End of 2023 / early 2024
  • Commencement subject to 6-month transitional period – proposed commencement of new framework in September 2024

Workplace Health and Safety are also speaking with SafeWork Australia about harmonising this process throughout all of the states in Australia.


Project Feedback

If you have feedback you’d like to submit on this topic, please send it through to as the SAA will be following this project closely and providing feedback to WHSQ.

We would like to thank you valued collaborator, James Moohan from Vertical Horizonz Australia, for inviting Erryn along as his guest to todays RTO forum and we look forward to further collaborating with VHAU as we build our case for a scaffolding apprenticeship here in Australia.

It was wonderful to have finally been able to meet this legend of the scaffolding industry in person yesterday, Robin Taurere aka 𝐑𝐨𝐛𝐛𝐢𝐞 𝐓𝐞𝐞 after speaking with him online for many years!

Robbie has 50 years plus experience in the Building, Construction, and Scaffolding Industry in New Zealand and Australia and is the Lead trainer/assessor at our #RTOpartnersATEC Construction and Training.

So great to catch up with you at yesterday’s RTO Forum and I look forward to seeing you again in a few weeks when I will be undertaking my Basic Scaffold training course with you and Lance Tulloch at ATEC.

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