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Tuesday, 8 February 2005
Page: 224

Senator Stott Despoja asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training, upon notice, on 12 August 2004:

With reference to the review of indexation, required in accordance with section 198-25 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003:

(1)   When will the review be initiated.

(2) (a)   When will the review be undertaken; and (b) who will undertake the review.

(3)   What action has been taken to initiate and undertake the review.

(4)   When did the charges for an application for a student (temporary) visa, as detailed on the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Form 990i, increase to $410.

(5) (a)   Why was this visa application charge increased; and (b) when and why was the International Education Contribution increased to $114.

(6) (a)   Who was consulted in relation to these two increases; and (b) what was the process by which these increases to the application for a student (temporary) visa charge and the International Education Contribution were made.

Senator Vanstone (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs) —The Minister for Education, Science and Training has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   and (2) (a) Work has begun on the review. The review will be completed by February 2005 to comply with the requirements of the Higher Education Support Act 2003. (b) The review is being undertaken by the Department of Education, Science and Training in cooperation with the Department of Finance and Administration and in close consultation with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of the Treasury.

(3)   See answer to (1) and (2)(a).

(4)   The 2003/04 Budget increased the Student Visa Application Charge (SVAC) to $400. This increase came into effect on 1 July 2003. The SVAC was increased to $410 on 1 July 2004 as a result of the annual indexation process in accordance with the Migration (Visa Application) Charge Act 1997.

(5) (a)   The 2003 increase to the SVAC allowed for an International Education Contribution (IEC) component which contributes to funding of the international education measures outlined in the 2003/04 Budget. (b) The IEC is part of the SVAC, therefore the increase to $114 occurred on 1 July 2004 (see answer to (4)).

(6) (a)   The increase to the SVAC to $400 occurred as part of the 2003/04 Budget process. The increase of the SVAC to $410 occurred as part of the regular indexation process. (b) The 2003 increase was made through changes to the Migration Regulations 1994 by the Migration Amendment Regulation 2003 (no.3). The changes were gazetted on 29 May 2003 and debated in the Senate on 26 July 2003. See also answer to (4).