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Australian Research Council Bill 2001

Part 7 Funding of research

Division 1 Financial assistance for approved research programs

Subdivision A Preliminary

47   Definitions

                   In this Division:

approved amount , in relation to a funding approval and a year to which the approval relates, means the amount determined under paragraph 51(2)(b) for the year and the funding proposal concerned.

approved funding rules for a year to which this Division applies means the set of rules prepared by the Board for that year under section 59 and approved by the Minister under section 60.

funding approval means an instrument of approval under subsection 51(1).

funding cap for a year to which this Division applies means the amount set out in section 49 for that year.

funding proposal means a proposal that expenditure by an organisation on a research program be approved under subsection 51(1) as a proposal deserving financial assistance under this Division. A funding proposal may relate to a single year to which this Division applies or to 2 or more such years.

funding split determination means a determination by the Minister under subsection 50(1) dividing the funding cap for a year to which this Division applies between 2 or more categories of research programs.

governing funding rules , in relation to a funding approval, means the approved funding rules referred to in paragraph 53(1)(c).

year to which this Division applies means a year specified in section 48.

48   Years to which Division applies

                   This Division applies to the following years:

                     (a)  the year 2001;

                     (b)  the year 2002.

Subdivision B Capping of funding

49   Annual cap on funding

                   The total of all the approved amounts determined in respect of a year to which this Division applies must not exceed:

                     (a)  for the year 2001—$244,330,000; and

                     (b)  for the year 2002—$243,81 2,0 00.

50   Minister must divide funding caps between different categories of research programs

             (1)  The Minister must, in writing, determine that the funding cap for a year to which this Division applies is to be divided, in such proportions as the Minister specifies in the determination, between such categories of research programs as the Minister specifies in the determination.

             (2)  The determination for a year must be made before the start of that year.

             (3)  The Minister may, in writing, vary a determination for a year (but only in a way so that the varied determination will still comply with subsection(1)).

             (4)  The Minister may, in a single instrument, make a determination covering 2 or more years to which this Division applies.

Subdivision C Provision of financial assistance

51   Approval of expenditure on research programs

             (1)  Subject to section 53, the Minister may, in writing, approve a proposal for expenditure by an organisation (the approved organisation ) on a research program (the approved program ) as a proposal deserving financial assistance under this Division in respect of a year to which this Division applies, or in respect of each of 2 or more such years.

             (2)  If the Minister approves the proposal, the Minister must, in writing, for the year, or each of the years, in respect of which the proposal is approved, determine:

                     (a)  an amount as the estimated total expenditure on the proposal for the year; and

                     (b)  an amount of approved expenditure in relation to the proposal for the year.

The amount of approved expenditure on the proposal for a year must not be greater than the amount of estimated total expenditure on the proposal for the year.

Note:          If the proposal is approved in respect of 2 or more years, different amounts may be determined in respect of different years.

             (3)  The Minister must cause a copy of the determination under paragraph (2)(b) to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day on which the determination is made.

             (4)  The instrument of approval under subsection (1) must include the following information:

                     (a)  the name of the approved organisation;

                     (b)  a description of the approved research program;

                     (c)  the name and title of the person leading the approved research program;

                     (d)  the amount determined under paragraph (2)(b) in relation to the year, or each of the years, for which the approved program is approved.

52   Recommendations by ARC in relation to approval of proposals

             (1)  Subject to section 53, the ARC mustmake recommendations to the Minister in relation to the following matters in respect of each year to which this Division applies:

                     (a)  what proposals should be approved under subsection 51(1) and what proposals should not be approved;

                     (b)  what amounts should be determined under paragraphs 51(2)(a) and (b) in respect of proposals recommended by the ARC for approval.

             (2)  A recommendation must not be made unless it has been approved by the Board.

             (3)  The recommendation that the ARC makes in relation to a particular proposal for expenditure on a research program (whether it is a recommendation that the proposal should be approved under subsection 51(1) or should not be so approved) must include the following information:

                     (a)  the name of the organisation seeking financial assistance for the proposal;

                     (b)  a description of the research program;

                     (c)  the name and title of the person leading the research program;

                     (d)  a statement of the reasons why the proposal is, or is not, recommended for approval under subsection 51(1).

             (4)  In deciding what proposals to approve under subsection 7B(1), the Minister may (but is not required to) rely solely on recommendations made by the ARC under subsection (1) of this section.

Note:          Decisions by the ARC to make recommendations to the Minister are reviewable under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 , and the ARC may be requested to give a statement of reasons under section 13 of that Act.

53   Requirements for approval or recommendation of proposals

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), a funding proposal must not be approved under subsection 51(1), or recommended by the ARC under subsection 52(1) for such approval, as deserving financial assistance under this Division in respect of a year to which this Division applies unless:

                     (a)  the approval of the proposal would be consistent with the funding cap for the year, or each of the years, to which the proposal relates; and

                     (b)  the Minister has made a funding split determination in relation to the year, or each of the years, to which the proposal relates and the approval of the proposal would be consistent with that determination; and

                     (c)  a set of approved funding rules for the year, or the first of the years, to which the proposal relates is in force; and

                     (d)  the eligibility criteria set out in those approved funding rules are satisfied in relation to the proposal; and

                     (e)  the application for financial assistance for the proposal satisfies the requirements set out in those approved funding rules; and

                      (f)  the assessment process set out in those approved funding rules has been complied with in relation to the proposal.

             (2)  If, after a recommendation is made in relation to a proposal and before the Minister decides whether to approve the proposal, there is a variation of:

                     (a)  the funding split determination for the year, or any of the years, to which the proposal relates; or

                     (b)  the governing funding rules in relation to the recommendation;

the Minister must, in making that decision, disregard that variation and have regard to the funding split determination, or the funding rules, (as the case requires) as in force when the recommendation was made.

             (3)  If an approval or recommendation relating to a proposal is, when given, in accordance with this section, the validity or effectiveness of the approval or recommendation is not affected by:

                     (a)  any subsequent variation of:

                              (i)  the funding split determination for the year, or any of the years, to which the proposal relates; or

                             (ii)  the governing funding rules; or

                     (b)  if the proposal relates to 2 or more years—the subsequent making and approval of a set of funding rules for the second or a later one of those years.

Example 1: A proposal that relates to the year 2001 is approved. The approval is consistent with the funding cap and the funding split determination for that year as at that time. Subsequently, the Minister varies the funding split determination by specifying different categories of research programs. Because of paragraph (3)(a), the approval of the proposal remains effective (including for the purposes of section 55) whether or not the proposal fits into one of the new categories of research programs.

Example 2: A proposal relates to the years 2001 and 2002. The governing funding rules are the funding rules for 2001. The proposal meets the requirements of those rules and is approved for both years. Subsequently, a set of funding rules is made and approved for the year 2002 specifying new eligibility criteria. Because of paragraph (3)(b), the approval of the proposal remains effective for the year 2002 (including for the purposes of section 55), whether or not the proposal satisfies the eligibility criteria specified in the new set of rules.

54   Variation of funding approvals

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), the Minister may, in writing, vary a funding approval as provided for in the governing funding rules.

             (2)  A variation of a funding approval:

                     (a)  must be consistent with:

                              (i)  the funding cap for the year, or each of the years, to which the approval relates; and

                             (ii)  the funding split determination for the year, or each of the years, to which the approval relates; and

                     (b)  cannot vary the approved amount for a year to which the approval relates to make it less than the amount of financial assistance (including advances) that has already been paid under this Division pursuant to the approval in respect of that year.

55   Payment of financial assistance for approved research programs

             (1)  This section applies if, under section 51, the Minister approves a proposal for expenditure by an organisation on a research program in respect of a year, or each of 2 or more years, to which this Division applies.

             (2)  Subject to subsections (3) and (4), there is payable to the organisation, for the purpose of financial assistance in respect of expenditure incurred or to be incurred by the organisation in connection with the proposal in respect of the year, or each of the years, an amount equal to the approved amount in relation to the proposal and the year, or each of the years.

             (3)  The financial assistance is not payable at a time after any of the following things happen:

                     (a)  the organisation’s involvement with the research program ends;

                     (b)  the research program changes so that it is no longer consistent with the description in the funding approval;

                     (c)  the person named in the funding approval as the person leading the research program ceases to lead the program.

Note:          It may be possible to vary the funding approval to accommodate a change that would otherwise result in the financial assistance ceasing to be payable because of this subsection (see section 54).

             (4)  The financial assistance is to be paid in such amounts, and at such times, as the Minister determines.

56   Advances

             (1)  The Minister may make arrangements for the making of advances by the Minister to an organisation, by way of financial assistance to the organisation, on account of an amount that is expected to become payable under section 55 in respect of a research program and a year to which this Division applies.

             (2)  An advance so paid to the organisation is paid:

                     (a)  subject to the conditions specified in paragraphs 58(1)(a) to (e), which apply to the advance as if it were an actual payment of financial assistance under section 55 in respect of the research program and the year; and

                     (b)  such other conditions as the Minister imposes by notice in writing to the organisation.

57   Source of payments

                   The Consolidated Revenue Fund is appropriated for the purpose of paying financial assistance under section 55 and advances under section 56.

58   Conditions of payment of financial assistance

             (1)  Financial assistance under section 55 in relation to a proposal for expenditure by an organisation on a research program in respect of a year to which this Division applies is paid to the organisation subject to the following conditions:

                     (a)  the sum of the amounts spent by the organisation in connection with the proposal in respect of the year (being amounts spent before the end of the year or spent after the year in respect of commitments entered into before the end of the year) must not be less than the sum of the amounts of financial assistance paid to the organisation under section 55 in relation to the proposal in respect of the year;

                     (b)  the organisation must give to the Minister, not later than 30 June next following the year, a statement by a qualified auditor, in a form approved in writing by the Minister for the purpose, as to the amounts spent as described in paragraph (a);

                     (c)  if the Minister informs the organisation that the Minister is satisfied that the organisation has failed to fulfil a condition applicable to the financial assistance, the organisation will pay to the Commonwealth the amount (if any) specified by the Minister, not exceeding the amount of the financial assistance;

                     (d)  if the amount of the financial assistance paid to the organisation exceeds the amount of the financial assistance that is properly payable to the organisation, the organisation will pay an amount equal to the excess to the Commonwealth;

                     (e)  despite paragraph (d), if:

                              (i)  the organisation fails to spend all of that financial assistance as required by this Division (including the other conditions) in respect of the year; and

                             (ii)  the Minister determines that this paragraph is to apply in relation to the organisation in respect of the year;

                            so much of the unspent amount as the Minister specifies will be taken to have been paid to the organisation under section 55 in respect of the next following year under similar conditions to the conditions of the original payment or under other conditions determined by the Minister;

                      (f)  the organisation will comply with any applicable additional accountability requirements specified in the governing funding rules;

                     (g)  such other conditions as the Minister imposes by notice in writing to the applicant.

             (2)  In this section:

qualified auditor means:

                     (a)  the Auditor-General of a State, of the Australian Capital Territory or of the Northern Territory; or

                     (b)  a person registered as a company auditor or a public accountant under a law in force in a State, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory; or

                     (c)  a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, or of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants; or

                     (d)  a person approved by the Minister in writing as a qualified auditor for the purposes of this Act.

Subdivision D Funding rules

59   Board to make rules

             (1)  The Board must, before the start of each year to which this Division applies, prepare a set of rules dealing with the matters set out in subsection (2) for funding proposals that relate to that year, or that relate to that year and to one or more later years to which this Division applies, and give it to the Minister for approval under section 60.

             (2)  The matters that must be dealt with in the rules are as follows:

                     (a)  the eligibility criteria to be met in order for a proposal to be approved for financial assistance (including criteria relating to the kinds of organisation that may receive assistance and the kinds of research program in respect of which assistance may be provided);

                     (b)  how to apply for financial assistance;

                     (c)  the assessment process for deciding which proposals will be recommended for approval;

                     (d)  the ways in which, and circumstances in which, a funding approval may be varied;

                     (e)  any additional accountability requirements that the Board thinks desirable.

The rules may also deal with such other matters as the ARC considers appropriate.

             (3)  The rules must be in writing.

             (4)  The rules must take account of, and be consistent with:

                     (a)  the funding cap for the year, or each of the years, to which the rules apply; and

                     (b)  the funding split determination for the year, or each of the years, to which the rules apply.

             (5)  The rules take effect from the time determined by the Board, which must not be a time before the rules have been approved by the Minister.

60   Ministerial approval of rules

             (1)  After receiving a set of rules (or a revised set of rules) from the Board, the Minister must either:

                     (a)  approve the set of rules; or

                     (b)  give the set of rules back to the Board with a written request for the Board to give the Minister a set of rules (prepared in accordance with section 59), revised to take account of specified concerns of the Minister.

             (2)  If the Minister requests the Board to give him or her a revised set of rules, the Board must do so as soon as reasonably practicable.

             (3)  A set of rules is of no effect unless it has been approved by the Minister.

61   Variation of rules

             (1)  If the Board considers that a variation of a set of approved funding rules is necessary or desirable, the Board may, with the approval of the Minister, vary the set of rules.

             (2)  The circumstances in which a variation of a set of approved funding rules is necessary include (but are not limited to) the following:

                     (a)  there is a change in the amount of the funding cap for the year, or any of the years, to which the rules apply and the rules are not consistent with the changed funding cap;

                     (b)  the funding split determination for the year, or any of the years, to which the rules apply is varied and the rules are not consistent with the varied determination.

             (3)  A variation of a set of rules is of no effect unless the variation has been approved by the Minister.



 

Division 2 The ARC Research Endowment Account

62   Establishment of ARC Research Endowment Account

             (1)  The ARC Research Endowment Account is established by this section.

             (2)  The Account is a Special Account for the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 .

63   Credits to Account

                   There must be credited to the Account:

                     (a)  amounts that are given or bequeathed for the purposes of the Account; and

                     (b)  amounts (if any) from time to time appropriated by the Parliament for the Account.

64   Purposes of Account

             (1)  Amounts standing to the credit of the Account may be expended by the ARC on providing financial assistance to organisations for eligible research programs if the following conditions are satisfied:

                     (a)  if a funding proposal for that financial assistance were proposed under Division 1, that proposal would satisfy the eligibility criteria set out in the approved funding rules for the year in which expenditure occurs; and

                     (b)  the Minister has, in writing, approved the expenditure.

             (2)  In this section, approved funding rules and funding proposal have the same meanings as they have in Division 1.

65   Terms and conditions of financial assistance

                   Financial assistance under section 64 is provided on such terms and conditions (if any) as are determined by the ARC, with the written approval of the Minister, by notice in writing to the organisation to which the assistance is provided.