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Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Bill 2011

2 010-2011

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Bill 2011

 

No.      , 2011

 

(Education, Employment and Workplace Relations)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to regulate higher education, and for other purposes

   

   

   



Contents

Part 1—Introduction                                                                                                             1

Division 1—Preliminary                                                                                              1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

Division 2—Objects and simplified outline                                                        4

3............ Objects................................................................................................ 4

4............ Simplified outline................................................................................ 4

Division 3—Definitions                                                                                                 6

5............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 6

6............ Meaning of regulated higher education award ................................. 15

7............ Meaning of vacancy .......................................................................... 16

Division 4—Constitutional matters                                                                      17

8............ Constitutional basis........................................................................... 17

9............ Act excludes State and Territory higher education laws.................... 17

Division 5—General application of this Act                                                    18

10.......... Crown to be bound........................................................................... 18

11.......... Application to external Territories and outside Australia................... 18

12.......... Geographical jurisdiction of offences................................................ 18

Part 2—Basic principles for regulation                                                                   19

13.......... Basic principles for regulation........................................................... 19

14.......... Principle of regulatory necessity....................................................... 19

15.......... Principle of reflecting risk................................................................. 19

16.......... Principle of proportionate regulation................................................. 19

17.......... Application to authorised officers..................................................... 20

Part 3—Registration                                                                                                            21

Division 1—Applying for registration                                                                21

18.......... Applying for registration................................................................... 21

19.......... Preliminary assessment of application............................................... 21

20.......... Substantive assessment of application............................................... 22

21.......... Registration....................................................................................... 22

22.......... TEQSA to notify applicant of decision about registration................. 24

23.......... Commencement and duration of registration..................................... 24

Division 2—Conditions of registration                                                               25

24.......... Complying with conditions............................................................... 25

25.......... Condition—accredited course........................................................... 25

26.......... Condition—courses to be provided consistently with the Threshold Standards       25

27.......... Condition—financial information must be provided......................... 25

28.......... Condition—other information must be provided............................... 26

29.......... Condition—notifying TEQSA of material changes........................... 26

30.......... Condition—record keeping............................................................... 27

31.......... Condition—cooperation.................................................................... 27

32.......... Other conditions................................................................................ 27

33.......... TEQSA to consult if condition about authority to self-accredit......... 28

34.......... TEQSA to notify provider of decision to impose, vary or revoke a condition          29

Division 3—Renewing registration                                                                      30

35.......... Applying to renew registration.......................................................... 30

36.......... Renewing registration....................................................................... 30

37.......... TEQSA to notify provider of decision about renewal....................... 31

Division 4—Changing provider registration category                              32

38.......... Changing provider registration category........................................... 32

39.......... Consultation—change relates to use of “university”......................... 32

40.......... TEQSA to notify provider of decision.............................................. 33

Division 5—Applying to self-accredit                                                                 34

41.......... Applying to self-accredit courses of study........................................ 34

42.......... TEQSA to notify provider of decision.............................................. 34

Division 6—Withdrawing registration                                                               35

43.......... Withdrawing registration................................................................... 35

44.......... TEQSA to notify provider of decision about withdrawal.................. 35

Part 4—Accreditation of courses of study                                                             36

Division 1—Application of this Part                                                                    36

45.......... Application........................................................................................ 36

Division 2—Applying for accreditation                                                             37

46.......... Applying for accreditation................................................................. 37

47.......... Preliminary assessment of application............................................... 37

48.......... Substantive assessment of application............................................... 37

49.......... Accreditation of course of study....................................................... 38

50.......... TEQSA to notify provider of decision about accreditation................ 39

51.......... Commencement and duration of accreditation................................... 39

Division 3—Conditions of accreditation                                                            41

52.......... Complying with conditions............................................................... 41

53.......... Conditions......................................................................................... 41

54.......... TEQSA to notify provider of decision to impose, vary or revoke a condition          41

Division 4—Renewing accreditation                                                                   42

55.......... Applying to renew accreditation........................................................ 42

56.......... Renewing accreditation..................................................................... 42

57.......... TEQSA to notify provider of decision about renewal....................... 43

Part 5—Higher Education Standards Framework                                          44

Division 1—Higher Education Standards Framework                             44

58.......... Making the Higher Education Standards Framework....................... 44

Division 2—Compliance with the Framework                                              46

59.......... Compliance assessments................................................................... 46

60.......... Quality (including thematic) assessments.......................................... 46

61.......... Accreditation assessments................................................................. 46

62.......... Matters relevant to assessments........................................................ 46

Part 6—Investigative powers                                                                                         48

Division 1—Requiring people to give information etc.                             48

63.......... Requiring person connected with a regulated entity to give information etc.            48

64.......... Contravening requirement to give information etc............................. 49

65.......... Copying documents—compensation................................................. 49

66.......... TEQSA may retain documents and things........................................ 49

67.......... Returning documents or things produced.......................................... 50

68.......... Disposal if cannot be returned........................................................... 50

69.......... Self-incrimination.............................................................................. 51

Division 2—Searches of premises                                                                         52

70.......... Authorised officer may enter premises by consent or under a warrant 52

71.......... Monitoring powers of authorised officers......................................... 52

72.......... Enforcement powers of authorised officers....................................... 55

73.......... Persons assisting authorised officers................................................ 57

74.......... Use of force in executing a warrant................................................... 57

75.......... Authorised officer may ask questions and seek production of documents               58

76.......... Self-incrimination.............................................................................. 59

Division 3—Obligations and incidental powers of authorised officers    60

77.......... Consent............................................................................................. 60

78.......... Announcement before entry under warrant....................................... 60

79.......... Authorised officer to be in possession of warrant............................. 61

80.......... Details of warrant etc. to be given to occupier................................... 61

81.......... Expert assistance to operate electronic equipment............................. 62

82.......... Compensation for damage to electronic equipment........................... 63

Division 4—Occupier’s rights and responsibilities                                      65

83.......... Occupier entitled to observe execution of warrant............................. 65

84.......... Occupier to provide authorised officer with facilities and assistance. 65

Division 5—General provisions relating to seizure                                     66

85.......... Copies of seized things to be provided.............................................. 66

86.......... Receipts for things seized.................................................................. 66

87.......... Return of seized things...................................................................... 66

88.......... Magistrate may permit a thing to be retained..................................... 67

89.......... Disposal if cannot be returned........................................................... 68

Division 6—Warrants                                                                                                 70

90.......... Issuing monitoring warrants............................................................. 70

91.......... Issuing enforcement warrants........................................................... 71

92.......... Enforcement warrants by telephone, fax etc...................................... 72

93.......... Offence relating to warrants by telephone, fax etc............................. 74

Division 7—Authorised officers and identity cards                                     75

94.......... Authorised officers........................................................................... 75

95.......... Identity cards..................................................................................... 75

Division 8—Powers of magistrates                                                                      77

96.......... Federal Magistrates—consent to nomination.................................... 77

97.......... Magistrates—personal capacity......................................................... 77

Part 7—Enforcement                                                                                                          78

Division 1—Administrative sanctions                                                                 78

Subdivision A—Sanctions                                                                                       78

98.......... Provider is non-compliant................................................................. 78

99.......... Sanctions about accredited course..................................................... 78

100........ Shortening period of registration....................................................... 78

101........ Cancelling registration....................................................................... 78

Subdivision B—Other matters                                                                               79

102........ Automatic cancellation if provider wound up.................................... 79

103........ Seeking registration after cancellation............................................... 79

Division 2—Offences and civil penalty provisions                                       80

Subdivision A—Offences and civil penalty provisions                                    80

104........ Guide to offences and civil penalty provisions.................................. 80

105........ Offering a regulated higher education award if unregistered............. 80

106........ Representing offer of a regulated higher education award if unregistered                81

107........ Offering an award without a course of study.................................... 82

108........ Regulated entity represents itself as university.................................. 82

109........ Falsely representing entity as a registered higher education provider 84

110........ Falsely representing that entity provides a course of study leading to a regulated higher education award               84

111........ Falsely representing course of study is accredited............................. 85

112........ Providing an unaccredited course of study........................................ 85

113........ Breach of condition of registration.................................................... 86

114........ Breach of condition of accreditation.................................................. 86

Subdivision B—Obtaining a civil penalty order                                               86

115........ Civil penalty orders........................................................................... 86

116........ Involvement in contravening civil penalty provision......................... 87

117........ Recovery of a pecuniary penalty....................................................... 88

118........ 2 or more proceedings may be heard together................................... 88

119........ Continuing and multiple contraventions of civil penalty provisions.. 88

120........ Mistake of fact.................................................................................. 89

Subdivision C—Civil penalty proceedings and criminal proceedings        90

121........ Civil proceedings after criminal proceedings..................................... 90

122........ Criminal proceedings during civil proceedings................................. 90

123........ Criminal proceedings after civil proceedings..................................... 90

124........ Evidence given in proceedings for civil penalty not admissible in criminal proceedings          90

Division 3—Enforceable undertakings                                                              92

125........ Acceptance of undertakings.............................................................. 92

126........ Enforcement of undertakings............................................................ 92

Division 4—Injunctions                                                                                              94

127........ Injunctions........................................................................................ 94

128........ Interim injunctions............................................................................ 94

129........ Discharging or varying injunctions................................................... 95

130........ Certain limits on granting injunctions not to apply............................ 95

131........ Other powers of the Court unaffected............................................... 95

Part 8—Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency                     97

Division 1—Establishment, functions and powers of TEQSA               97

132........ Establishment.................................................................................... 97

133........ Constitution....................................................................................... 97

134........ Functions and powers....................................................................... 97

135........ Independence of TEQSA.................................................................. 99

136........ Minister may give directions to TEQSA........................................... 99

137........ TEQSA has privileges and immunities of the Crown....................... 99

Division 2—Appointment of Commissioners                                                100

138........ Appointment................................................................................... 100

139........ Term of appointment....................................................................... 100

140........ Remuneration and allowances......................................................... 100

141........ Leave of absence............................................................................. 101

142........ Outside employment....................................................................... 101

143........ Disclosure of interests to the Minister............................................. 101

144........ Other terms and conditions............................................................. 101

145........ Resignation..................................................................................... 102

146........ Termination of appointment............................................................ 102

147........ Acting appointments....................................................................... 103

Division 3—TEQSA procedures                                                                          105

Subdivision A—Meetings                                                                                      105

148........ Times and places of meetings.......................................................... 105

149........ Conduct of meetings....................................................................... 105

150........ Disclosure of interests..................................................................... 106

Subdivision B—Decisions without meetings                                                     106

151........ Decisions without meetings............................................................ 106

152........ Record of decisions......................................................................... 107

Division 4—Chief Executive Officer                                                                 108

153........ Chief Executive Officer................................................................... 108

154........ Functions and powers of the Chief Executive Officer..................... 108

155........ Minister may give directions to Chief Executive Officer................. 108

Division 5—Staff                                                                                                          109

156........ Staff................................................................................................ 109

157........ Staff to be made available to TEQSA.............................................. 109

Division 6—Fees                                                                                                           110

158........ Fees................................................................................................. 110

Division 7—Planning                                                                                                  111

Subdivision A—Strategic plans                                                                           111

159........ Developing strategic plans.............................................................. 111

160........ Approving strategic plans............................................................... 111

161........ Varying strategic plans.................................................................... 112

Subdivision B—Annual operational plans                                                        112

162........ Developing annual operational plans............................................... 112

163........ Approving annual operational plans................................................ 113

164........ Varying annual operational plans.................................................... 113

Division 8—Annual reports                                                                                    114

165........ Annual reports................................................................................ 114

Part 9—Higher Education Standards Panel                                                      115

Division 1—Establishment and functions                                                        115

166........ Establishment.................................................................................. 115

167........ Constitution..................................................................................... 115

168........ Functions........................................................................................ 115

169........ Panel has privileges and immunities of the Crown.......................... 116

Division 2—Appointment of Panel members                                                117

170........ Appointment................................................................................... 117

171........ Term of appointment....................................................................... 117

172........ Remuneration and allowances......................................................... 117

173........ Leave of absence............................................................................. 118

174........ Outside employment....................................................................... 118

175........ Disclosure of interests to the Minister............................................. 118

176........ Other terms and conditions............................................................. 118

177........ Resignation..................................................................................... 118

178........ Termination of appointment............................................................ 119

179........ Acting appointments....................................................................... 119

Division 3—Panel meetings                                                                                    121

180........ Holding meetings............................................................................ 121

181........ Quorum........................................................................................... 121

182........ Procedure of meetings..................................................................... 121

Part 10—Administrative law matters                                                                     123

Division 1—Review of decisions                                                                          123

183........ Reviewable decisions...................................................................... 123

184........ Applying for internal review of reviewable decisions made by delegates of TEQSA              124

185........ Internal review by TEQSA............................................................. 124

186........ Deadline for internal review............................................................ 125

187........ Review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal............................. 125

Division 2—Information management                                                            126

Subdivision A—Restriction on disclosure or use of information                126

188........ Offence of unauthorised disclosure or use of information.............. 126

Subdivision B—Information sharing                                                                 127

189........ Disclosing information about breaches of regulatory requirements. 127

190........ Disclosing information about proposed cancellations of registration 128

191........ Disclosing information to Tertiary Admission Centres................... 128

192........ Disclosing information to the Minister and Secretary..................... 128

193........ Disclosing information to professional bodies etc........................... 129

194........ Disclosing information to certain government bodies etc................ 129

195........ Disclosing information under international cooperative arrangements 129

196........ Disclosing information to the public............................................... 129

197........ Information about national security................................................. 130

Part 11—National Register of Higher Education Providers                    131

198........ National Register of Higher Education Providers........................... 131

Part 12—Miscellaneous                                                                                                   132

199........ Delegation—general........................................................................ 132

200........ Delegation—powers delegable only to Commissioners.................. 133

201........ Delegates must comply with directions........................................... 133

202........ Protection from criminal or civil actions.......................................... 134

203........ Review of impact of Act................................................................. 134

204........ Guidelines....................................................................................... 134

205........ Regulations..................................................................................... 135

 



A Bill for an Act to regulate higher education, and for other purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts: