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Education Legislation Amendment Bill 1995



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Education Legislation Amendment Bill 1995

Warning:

This Digest was prepared for debate and reflects the legislation as introduced but

does not canvass subsequent amendments.

This Digest was available on PDBS from 18 December 1995

Education Legislation Amendment Bill 1995

Date Introduced: 29 November 1995

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Employment, Education and Training

Commencement: The amendments to the University of Canberra Act 1989 commence on a day fixed by Proclamation, or six months from the day the bill receives the Royal Assent, whichever is sooner. The other amendments outlined in this Digest commence immediately after those to the University of Canberra Act 1989.

Purpose

The major amendments:

transfer responsibility for the University of Canberra from the Commonwealth to the Australian Capital Territory;

preserve the terms and conditions of employment held by University of Canberra employees prior to the transfer day; and

allow the Council of the Australian Maritime College to make statutes to regulate and control traffic on college land.

Main Provisions

Amendments to the University of Canberra Act 1989

On 1 January 1990 the University of Canberra Act 1989 (the UCAN Act) came into force. The UCAN Act transformed the Canberra College of Advanced Education into the University of Canberra (UC) under the sponsorship of Monash University. The UCAN Act provided that the sponsorship arrangement would continue until either the Minister declared that Monash University is no longer willing to sponsor the UC or the Governor- General makes a regulation repealing the sponsorship, an action which could not be taken before 1 January 1993.

In 1993 the sponsorship agreement with Monash University was ended, following a joint request by the vice- chancellors of UC and Monash University to the Minister and the passing of the necessary regulation. In addition, the UC commenced negotiations with the Federal and ACT Governments to allow the transfer of the UCAN Act from Commonwealth to ACT jurisdiction. 1

The majority of the amendments to the UCAN Act proposed by the Bill remove provisions relating to the sponsorship of UC by Monash University. The provisions are no longer relevant as Monash University's sponsorship has ended.

Section 38 of the UCAN Act provides that the UC is not subject to taxation. However, the Governor- General may make regulations providing that the exemption does not apply in relation to a particular law. Item 10 of Schedule 1 repeals section 38. The rationale given by the Government in the Explanatory Memorandum for the repeal is that:

Provisions exempting higher education institutions from Commonwealth taxation are found in the relevant tax codes. The University should not be subject to a taxation regime that is different to other Australian higher education institutions. The matter of whether the University should be subject to Territory taxes is a matter for the ACT Legislative Assembly after it takes responsibility for the institution. For this reason, the section is removed.

Amendment to the Australian Capital Territory (Self- Government) Act 1988

Subsection 34(2) of the Australian Capital Territory (Self- Government) Act 1988 provides that a law specified in Schedule 2 shall be taken to be an ACT enactment and may be amended or repealed. Item 14 of Schedule 1 inserts in Schedule 2 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self- Government) Act 1988 the University of Canberra Act 1989. This will transfer responsibility for the UC from the Commonwealth to the ACT.

Transitional Amendments

Schedule 2 of the Bill contains transitional provisions relating to the transfer of responsibility for the UC from the Commonwealth to the ACT. The major amendments:

Preserve the terms and conditions of employment (including accrued entitlement to benefits) held by UC employees prior to the transfer day. The 'transfer day' is immediately after the commencement of the amendments to the University of Canberra Act 1989, which is a day fixed by Proclamation, or six months from the day the bill receives the Royal Assent, whichever is the earlier (item 3 of Schedule 2).

Preserve rights of review, complaint and access to documents under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977, Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, Freedom of Information Act 1982, Ombudsman Act 1976, Privacy Act 1988 and Disability Discrimination Act 1992 held prior to the transfer day.

Amendment to the Maritime College Act 1978

The Australian Maritime College (the College), Launceston, Tasmania, operates under the Maritime College Act 1978. The College is an autonomous higher education institution governed by its own Council. The Council is responsible for policy making and administrative direction. The College comprises three schools - Engineering, Fisheries and Nautical Studies, and the Centre for Marine Operations.

The functions of the College are contained in section 7 of the Maritime College Act 1978. Section 7 provides:

7. The functions of the College are:

(a)to conduct an institution for the provision of such maritime and maritime - related education and training as the Council with the approval of the Minister determines, or as the Minister requires, being principally tertiary education for person who wish to become, or are, officers on merchant or fishing vessels or who wish to become, or are, otherwise engaged in connection with shipping or fishing vessels or who wish to become, or are, otherwise engaged in connection with shipping or the fishing industry.

(b)to use the facilities and resources of the College to advance and develop knowledge and skills in the fields with which the College is concerned;

(c)to award such degrees, diplomas and certificates in relation to the passing of examinations or otherwise in relation to the education and training provided by the College as are provided for by the Statutes;

(d)to consult and maintain liaison with other institutions and authorities in Australia that are concerned with the provision of maritime education and training; and

(e)to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the preceding functions.

College enrolments, including full- fee paying students and overseas students totalled 1012 in 1994 2. This compares with total enrolments of 1266 in 1993 and 1378 in 1992. The College's operating grant for 1995 is $9.896 million. 3 In 1992- 93 and earlier years, the College was funded through annual Appropriation Acts. It is now funded under the provisions of the Higher Education Funding Act 1988, although it is not a member of the Unified National System (UNS). Non UNS members are not funded on a triennial basis, but receive annual grants for specified teaching activities.

The principal effect of item 1 of Schedule 3, which inserts a new section 24A in the Maritime College Act 1987, is to allow the Council of the College to make statutes to regulate and control traffic on College land.

Endnotes

1.University of Canberra, Annual Report 1993, p. 3.

2.Australian Maritime College, Annual Report of Council 1994, p. 29.

3.Department of Employment, Education and Training, Supplementary Higher Education Funding Report for the 1994- 96 Triennium, 9 December 1994, p. 41

Ian Ireland (06 2772438)

Bills Digest Service 18 December 1995

Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any legal status. Other sources should be consulted to

determine whether this Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

Commonwealth of Australia 1995

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members and Senators of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.