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Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment Bill 2000

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1998-1999-2000

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

EDUCATION SERVICES FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS (REGISTRATION CHARGES) AMENDMENT BILL 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs

 the Hon Dr David Kemp MP)

 

 



 

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of this Bill is to introduce changes to the Annual Registration Charge (ARC) for overseas education and training providers who are registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Industry contributions to the regulatory system through the ARC are provided for under the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Act 1997 (ESOS Charges Act).

 

This Bill is required to offset some of the additional costs that the Commonwealth will incur under the reforms to the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration of Providers and Financial Regulation) Act 1991 (old ESOS Act). The education and training industry for overseas students is regulated by this Act, which aims to provide financial and tuition assurance for overseas students. Under the reforms, the old ESOS Act will be repealed by the Education Services for Overseas Students (Consequential and Transitional) Act 2000 and replaced by the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (the new ESOS Act).

 

Following the review of the old ESOS Act, the new ESOS Act will strengthen the regulatory framework for the industry, bringing about enhanced quality assurance and probity measures, including the following:

·         Overseas students will be provided with stronger protection for pre-paid fees and continuing tuition if their provider goes out of business;

·         A national code will be established providing nationally consistent standards for the registration and conduct of providers as a legally enforceable code;

·         The Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA) will have powers to initiate investigation of possible breaches of the provisions of the new ESOS Act or the national code; and

·         DETYA will have power to impose suspension and cancellation action and the other conditions on providers that breach the provisions of the new ESOS Act or the national code.

 

The cost of administering the new ESOS Act will increase with these new measures. The increased charges on providers through changes to the formula for assessing the ARC will enable DETYA to offset the costs of the Commonwealth taking a more pro-active role in the registration and regulation of the education export industry.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The increase of about 50% in the Annual Registration Charge for institutions registered on CRICOS will yield about $500,000 per annum. This will contribute to administering the amended ESOS Act.

 

 



EDUCATION SERVICES FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS (REGISTRATION CHARGES) AMENDMENT BILL 2000

 

 

NOTES ON INDIVIDUAL CLAUSES

 

 

Clause 1          Short Title

 

This clause identifies the legislation as the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment Act 2000 .

 

Clause 2          Commencement

 

This clause provides for the Act to commence on Royal Assent

 

Clause 3          Schedule(s)

 

This clause provides that each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed in accordance with the applicable item in the Schedule concerned.

 



SCHEDULE 1 - AMENDMENTS

 

 

Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Act 1997

 

 

Items 1-5

 

The cost of the Commonwealth’s administration of the overseas students field will increase with the introduction of the new ESOS Act. To recoup these costs, the annual registration charges will be increased by approximately 50%. Items 1-5 will replace the figures in the table of charges in subsection 5(2) as follows:

 

·              Item 1 - “$300” is omitted and replaced by “$400”.

 

·              Item 2 - “$750” is omitted and replaced by “$1,165”.

 

·              Item 3 - “$1,500” is omitted and replaced by “$2,311”.

 

·              Item 4 - “$2,500” is omitted and replaced by “$3,852”.

 

·              Item 5 - “$5,000” is omitted and replaced by “$8,000”.

 

 

Item 6

 

This item repeals the note at the end of subsection 5(2) and replaces it with Notes 1 and 2. New Note 1 informs readers that the annual registration charge is to be indexed under section 7 of the ESOS Charges Act for 2002 and later years (section 7 provides the formula for calculating annual registration charges).

 

Note 2 informs the reader that the amount of an annual registration charge may be different from the amount specified in the table in subsection 5(2) if an instrument under section 5A is in effect. Section 5A enables the Governor-General to make a written instrument that sets out an amount or amounts of the annual registration charge. The charge in the instrument will vary the annual registration charge that would otherwise be payable for that year.

 

 

Item 7

 

This item inserts section 5A, providing for variation of the annual registration charge.

 

Subsection 5A (1) provides that the Governor-General may establish an amount or amounts of annual registration charge that are different from the amount or amounts that would have been payable for that year. The Governor-General is required to set out this change of amount or amounts in the annual registration charge in a written instrument.

 

Subsection 5A (2) specifies that the written instrument must state that the changes will take effect at the beginning of the calendar year after the year in which the changes are made and will applies to all following years

 

Subsection 5A (3) provides that the instrument may stipulate an amount for only one class of provider, or different amounts for different classes of provider.

 

Subsection 5A (4) provides that the Minister must table a copy of the instrument in each House of Parliament as soon as practicable.

 

Subsection 5A (5) provides that if the instrument is approved through the passing of a resolution in each House of Parliament, then for each class of provider to which the instrument relates, the stipulated annual charge is payable for the years specified in the instrument. The amount that would otherwise be payable does not apply in these circumstances.

 

Items 8 and 9

 

Section 7 of the ESOS Charges Act provides for the calculation of initial and annual registration charges after 1997. To reflect the changes to annual registration charges that will be implemented by this Act, item 8 deletes the words “or annual registration charge” from subsection 7(1) and item 9 inserts subsection 7(1A).

 

Subsection 7(1A) will provide for the calculation of annual registration charges after 2001 except for a year to which a section 5A instrument applies. As indicated in the note that will be inserted after subsection 7 (1A), the exceptions occur because for those years any indexation can be taken into account when making the section 5A instrument.

 

Item 10

 

This item amends subsection 7(2) by adding the words “or an instrument in effect under section 5A”.

 

Item 11

 

This item specifies that the amendments made by this Schedule are applicable in working out the amount of charges payable from the year 2001 and all later years.