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Higher Education Endowment Fund Bill 2007

Part 4 Grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions

Division 1 Introduction

39   Simplified outline

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Part:

•      The Higher Education Endowment Fund Advisory Board is established.

•      The function of the Higher Education Endowment Fund Advisory Board is to advise the Education Minister about the following matters:

               (a)     making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to capital expenditure;

              (b)     making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to research facilities.

•      The Education Minister may authorise:

               (a)     grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to capital expenditure; and

              (b)     grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to research facilities.

•      The total amount of grants authorised in a financial year must not exceed the maximum grants amount calculated in accordance with the Maximum Grants Rules.

•      The terms and conditions on which financial assistance is granted to an eligible higher education institution are to be set out in a written agreement between the Commonwealth and the institution.



 

Division 2 Higher Education Endowment Fund Advisory Board

40   Higher Education Endowment Fund Advisory Board

             (1)  The Higher Education Endowment Fund Advisory Board is established.

             (2)  The Advisory Board consists of such persons as the Education Minister from time to time appoints, by writing, to the Advisory Board.

             (3)  The Education Minister may terminate a person’s appointment to the Advisory Board.

             (4)  The Education Minister may give the Advisory Board written directions as to:

                     (a)  the way in which the Advisory Board is to carry out its function; and

                     (b)  procedures to be followed in relation to meetings.

             (5)  A direction under subsection (4) is a legislative instrument.

Note 1:       Section 42 (disallowance) of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 does not apply to the direction—see section 44 of that Act.

Note 2:       Part 6 (sunsetting) of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 does not apply to the direction—see section 54 of that Act.

41   Function of the Advisory Board

             (1)  The function of the Advisory Board is to advise the Education Minister about matters referred to it by the Education Minister.

             (2)  Each matter referred to the Advisory Board must be a matter that relates to:

                     (a)  making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to capital expenditure; or

                     (b)  making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to research facilities.

42   Remuneration and allowances

             (1)  A member of the Advisory Board is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the member is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Education Minister.

             (2)  A member of the Advisory Board is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed.

             (3)  This section has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 .

43   Disclosure of interests

             (1)  This section applies to a member of the Advisory Board who has a material personal interest in a matter being considered, or about to be considered, by the Advisory Board.

             (2)  The member must, as soon possible after the relevant facts have come to the member’s knowledge:

                     (a)  disclose the nature of the interest at a meeting of the Advisory Board; and

                     (b)  disclose the nature of the interest to the Education Minister.

             (3)  A disclosure under paragraph (2)(a) must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

             (4)  The Education Minister must terminate the appointment of a member of the Advisory Board if the member fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with subsection (2).

             (5)  Subsection (4) does not limit subsection 40(3).

44   Resignation

             (1)  A member of the Advisory Board may resign his or her appointment by giving the Education Minister a written resignation.

             (2)  The resignation takes effect on the day it is received by the Education Minister or, if a later day is specified in the resignation, on that later day.



 

Division 3 Authorisation of grants

45   Authorisation of grants

             (1)  The Education Minister may, by writing, authorise a grant of financial assistance to an eligible higher education institution in relation to capital expenditure.

             (2)  The Education Minister may, by writing, authorise a grant of financial assistance to an eligible higher education institution in relation to a research facility.

             (3)  Subsection (1) does not limit subsection (2).

             (4)  Subsection (2) does not limit subsection (1).

             (5)  An instrument under subsection (1) or (2) is a legislative instrument, but section 42 (disallowance) of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 does not apply to the instrument.

46   Limits on authorisation of grants

             (1)  The Education Minister must not authorise a grant under section 45 during a financial year unless the Education Minister has been given a statement under subsection 48(1) in relation to the financial year.

Note:          A statement under subsection 48(1) sets out the result of the Future Fund Board’s calculation of the maximum grants amount in relation to the financial year.

             (2)  The total amount of grants authorised under section 45 during a financial year must not exceed the result set out in the statement given to the Education Minister under subsection 48(1) in relation to the financial year.

             (3)  The Education Minister must not authorise a grant under section 45 before 1 July 2008.

47   Maximum Grants Rules

             (1)  The responsible Ministers may, by writing, make rules for ascertaining the maximum amount that can be debited from the Fund Account during a financial year for the following purposes:

                     (a)  making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to capital expenditure;

                     (b)  making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to research facilities;

and must make at least one such rule before 1 July 2008.

Note 1:       For variation and revocation, see subsection 33(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

Note 2:       See also section 53 (additional obligations of responsible Ministers).

             (2)  Rules under subsection (1) are to be known as the Maximum Grants Rules .

Criteria etc.

             (3)  Subject to subsection (5), in making rules under subsection (1), the responsible Ministers must have regard to:

                     (a)  the objective that, over the medium to long term, grants authorised under section 45 should not result in the balance of the Fund falling below the real value of the Government contributions to the Fund Account; and

                     (b)  the objective of moderating volatility in maximum grants amounts from financial year to financial year;

and must not have regard to any other matters.

Note:          For medium to long term , see subsection (8).

             (4)  The responsible Ministers must not make rules under subsection (1) that are inconsistent with this Act.

Accumulated nominal earnings

             (5)  The maximum amount that can be debited from the Fund Account during a financial year for the following purposes:

                     (a)  making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to capital expenditure;

                     (b)  making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to research facilities;

must not exceed the accumulated nominal earnings of the Fund as at the start of the financial year.

Note:          For accumulated nominal earnings , see section 49.

Consultation

             (6)  Before making rules under subsection (1), the responsible Ministers must:

                     (a)  consult the Education Minister; and

                     (b)  consult the Future Fund Board in relation to any implications for the performance of Future Fund Board’s Higher Education Endowment Fund investment functions.

Legislative instrument

             (7)  Rules made under subsection (1) are legislative instruments, but section 42 (disallowance) of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 does not apply to the rules.

Medium to long term

             (8)  For the purposes of this section, the medium to long term is a period of 5 years or longer.

48   Calculation of maximum grants amount

             (1)  As soon as practicable after the start of:

                     (a)  the financial year beginning on 1 July 2008; and

                     (b)  each later financial year;

the Future Fund Board must:

                     (c)  calculate, in accordance with the Maximum Grants Rules, the maximum amount that can be debited from the Fund Account during the financial year for the following purposes:

                              (i)  making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to capital expenditure;

                             (ii)  making grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions in relation to research facilities; and

                     (d)  give the Education Minister a written statement setting out the result of the calculation; and

                     (e)  give each responsible Minister a copy of the statement.

             (2)  A statement, or a copy of a statement, given under subsection (1) may be accompanied by such comments (if any) about the calculation as the Future Fund Board considers relevant.

49   Accumulated nominal earnings

                   For the purposes of this Act, the accumulated nominal earnings of the Fund as at the start of a financial year is:

                     (a)  if the balance of the Fund as at the start of the financial year exceeds the total of the Government contributions to the Fund Account that were made before the start of the financial year—the amount of the excess; or

                     (b)  otherwise—nil.



 

Division 4 Terms and conditions of grants

50   Terms and conditions of grants of financial assistance to eligible higher education institutions

             (1)  This section applies if an amount is to be debited from the Fund Account for the purpose of making a grant of financial assistance to an eligible higher education institution as mentioned in paragraph 16(1)(a) or (b).

             (2)  The terms and conditions on which that financial assistance is granted are to be set out in a written agreement between the Commonwealth and the eligible higher education institution.

             (3)  An agreement under subsection (2) may be entered into by the Education Minister on behalf of the Commonwealth.