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Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Page: 6847


Mr GARRETT (Kingsford SmithMinister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (11:09): I present a revised explanatory memorandum and move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011 gives effect to the government's intention to establish the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, or TEQSA, a new national body responsible for quality assurance and regulation of higher education.

The bill was introduced into the Senate by the Hon. Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations.

The bill includes a number of consequential amendments to existing acts which are necessary to ensure that the new regulatory framework for higher education integrates seamlessly with existing regul­atory frameworks and funding programs.

The bill contains consequential amend­ments to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 which recognise that once the TEQSA legislation is enacted, new registration requirements for higher educ­tion providers will apply and TEQSA will be responsible for administering these requirements.

The bill also contains a number of amendments to the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.

These amendments will allow TEQSA and its staff to undertake the functions relating to provider registration that were previously undertaken by the states and territories and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

In addition to these amendments, the bill contains a number of transitional provisions to manage the move to the new regulatory framework, including by outlining the process of registration and re-registration for existing providers of higher education.

The bill gives TEQSA the power to determine all applications for registration and re-registration that are pending at the time of transition.

To ensure that regulatory activities are not disrupted during the transition period, the bill also allows for the sharing of information and copies of records from the states and territories to the new authority.

Finally, the bill contains amendments to ensure that the quality assurance activities previously conducted by the Australian Universities Quality Agency continue under TEQSA.

I conclude by noting that the government amended the bill in the Senate to implement recommendations made by the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Emp­loyment and Workplace Relations.

Debate adjourned.

Leave granted for second reading debate to resume at a later hour this day.