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Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2004

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2002-2003-2004

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

INDIGENOUS EDUCATION (TARGETED ASSISTANCE) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP)

 

 



 

 

 

 

INDIGENOUS EDUCATION (TARGETED ASSISTANCE) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 (the Act) to maintain and enhance the Australian Government’s effort in improving education outcomes for Indigenous Australians over the 2005 to 2008 quadrennium.  The objects of the Act are closely aligned with the goals of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy (AEP) which was endorsed in 1989 by all Australian governments and continues as Australia’s national policy on Indigenous Education.  The Bill provides for continuation, for a further four years, of arrangements under the Act whereby agreements may be made with education providers, other persons or bodies, authorising the making of payments for the purpose of advancing the objects of the Act.

 

The Bill provides funding for both the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Programme (IESIP) and the Indigenous Education Direct Assistance Programme (IEDA) for the period 1 January 2005 to 30 June 2009.  IESIP provides supplementary recurrent funding as well as funding for significant national initiatives and special projects.  IEDA provides funding for the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme and funding to support a Whole of School Intervention Strategy.

 

The Bill also provides for a continuation of the “Away-From-Base” element of ABSTUDY, which was transferred to IESIP in 1999, for the 2005-2008 period.

 

The Bill includes provisions to significantly strengthen the accountability arrangements for funding agreements made under the Act.  It specifies commitments and conditions, including financial and educational accountability conditions, that must be included in those agreements.  It also includes a provision enabling the Minister to intervene to address underperformance by funding recipients.

 

Finally, the Bill provides for repeal of the spent transitional provision at section 16 of the Act and for repeal of the Indigenous Education (Supplementary Assistance) Act 1989 .

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The Bill provides for appropriation of some $865.9 million in final 2003 prices for non-ABSTUDY payments.  Additionally, it provides authority for ABSTUDY (Away From Base) payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is appropriated accordingly.  The projected demand for 2005-2008 for ABSTUDY (Away From Base) payments, in constant final 2003 prices is $101.4 million.  In accordance with the Government’s policy, these amounts will be adjusted for price movements.

 



INDIGENOUS EDUCATION (TARGETED ASSISTANCE) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

 

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Provides for the Act to be cited as the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Act 2004 .

 

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Provides for the Act to commence on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

 

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

Provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule and that any other item in a Schedule has effect according to its terms.

 

 



Schedule 1 - Amendments relating to assistance for Indigenous education

 

Part 1 - Appropriation amounts

 

Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000

 

Items 1 and 2

 

Amends the overview of the Act in subsection 3(1) (dealing with the making of agreements) and the definition of funding year in section 4 to reflect the extension of funding under the Act by four years to 2009.

 

 

Item 3

 

Inserts a new section 14A to provide appropriations for non-ABSTUDY payments for the period 1 January 2005 to 30 June 2009.

 

Proposed subsection 14A(1) inserts a table providing for base funding amounts (starting amounts) for four overlapping eighteen month appropriation periods from 1 January 2005 to 30 June 2009.  These appropriations may be increased by indexation in accordance with subsection 14A(2).

 

Proposed subsection 14A(2) provides that the regulations may provide for an increase in the base starting amount for each appropriation period in accordance with a specified index.

 



Part 2—Strengthening accountability for agreements

 

The amendments made by this Part specify strategies to accelerate improved educational outcomes by setting out accountability provisions in relation to agreements made under section 10 of the Act with an education provider.  Accountability provisions (see Division 2) list 3 types of accountability requirements.  Namely, commitments and general conditions (see Subdivision A), specific conditions about financial accountability (see Subdivision B) and specific conditions about educational accountability (see Subdivision C).

 

Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000

 

 

Items 4-6

 

Insert in section 4 definitions of other party , performance indicators and performance targets in relation to an agreement made under the Act to facilitate new provisions to strengthen educational and financial accountability for funding under the Act.

 

 

Item 7

 

Inserts a new Division heading in Part 3 entitled “Division 1—Making agreements ”.  Division 1 comprises existing section 10 dealing with the making of agreements with education providers.

 

 

Item 8

 

Amends subsection 11(1) to have the effect of providing that the Minister may (on behalf of the Commonwealth) make an agreement with a person or body ( including an education provider) authorising the making of one or more payments to the person or body for one or more specified projects whose purpose is to advance the objects of the Act.  This is intended to allow the Minister to enter an agreement with an education provider for the provision of goods or services other than under section 10.  Item 8 also alters the heading to section 11 to read “Agreements with any persons or bodies”.

 

 

Item 9

 

Inserts a new Division 2 dealing with accountability for section 10 agreements and comprising three new Subdivisions whose provisions are explained below:  Item 9 also creates a new Subdivision D to incorporate existing section 12.

 

Proposed Subdivision A—Commitments and general conditions

 

Proposed section 11A  Agreements are subject to commitments

 

Provides that the Minister must not make an agreement under section 10 unless the agreement specifies commitments by each other party to advance the objects of this Act and to achieve the performance targets.  The agreement may also specify other commitments.

 

Proposed section 11B  Agreements are subject to conditions

 

Proposed subsection 11B(1) provides that the Minister must not make an agreement under section 10 unless the agreement specifies the following conditions:

·          That the payments received under the agreement by each other party be spent by the party for the purposes specified in the agreement;

·          The conditions mentioned in Subdivisions B and C;

·          That reports covered by paragraph 11B(1)(b) [dot point 2 above] must be given to the Secretary of the Department at the times, and in the manner, required by the agreement;

·          That each other party give the Minister any reports required by the Minister in the time and manner required by him/her.

 

Proposed subsection 11B(2) provides that the Minister must not make the agreement unless the agreement specifies that the payments under the agreement are made on the conditions described in subsection 11B(1).

 

Proposed subsection 11B(3) provides that the agreement may also specify other conditions and that the payments under the agreement are made on those conditions.

 

 

Proposed Subdivision B—Specific conditions about financial accountability

 

Proposed section 11C  Certifying agreement payments duly spent or committed

 

Proposed section 11C provides that there must be a condition that (for each funding year covered by the agreement) each other party gives the Secretary of the Department a certificate made by a person authorised to do so by the agreement and specifying whether the payments to the party for the funding year have been spent (or committed to be spent) in that year for the purposes specified in the agreement.

 

 

Proposed section 11D  Reporting other funds used to advance the objects of this Act

 

Proposed subsection 11D(1) provides that there must be a condition that each other party report how the party has advanced ( and intends to advance) the objects of this Act from funds coming from sources other than the Act, the States Grants (Primary and Secondary Education Assistance) Act 2000 or any Act applying to periods ending after the last period covered by the States Grants (Primary and Secondary Education Assistance) Act 2000 and having purposes similar to that Act .

 

Proposed subsection 11D(2) provides that the condition set out in proposed subsection 11D(1) must require (for each funding year covered by the agreement) a report covering such funds spent (or committed to be spent) by the party in the funding year and such funds expected to be spent (or to be committed for spending) by the party in the next funding year and must include the information required by the agreement about those funds.

 



 

Proposed Subdivision C—Specific conditions about educational accountability

 

Proposed section 11E  Reporting on performance

 

Proposed subsection 11E(1) provides that t here must be a condition that each other party complies with the requirements specified in the agreement about reporting on performance against the performance indicators and performance targets.

 

Proposed subsection 11E(2) provides that, without intending to limit subsection 11E(1), this condition may include a requirement to report on performance against the performance indicators in a way that gives data for different geographical regions.

 

 

Proposed section 11F  Minister may intervene if under-performance

 

Proposed subsection 11F(1) provides that if the Minister thinks one of the other parties is not achieving the performance targets, the Minister may direct the party to take the action specified in the direction.

 

Proposed subsection 11F(2) provides that there must be a condition that the other party complies with the requirements specified in the agreement about reporting on the action taken in response to such a direction.

 

 

Proposed section 11G  Participation in evaluation and data validation exercises

 

Proposed section 11G provides that there must be a condition that each other party does each of the following in the manner (and by the times) specified in the agreement:

·          participates in evaluating how effectively projects and initiatives covered by the agreement advance the objects of the Act; and

·          participates in data validation exercises.

 

 

Proposed Division 3—Contravening conditions

 

New Division 3 incorporates existing section 12 dealing with recovery of payments.

 

 

Item 10

 

This is an application provision which provides that the amendments of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 made by Part 2 of Schedule 1 apply in relation to agreements made under that Act after the commencement of Part 2 of Schedule 1.

 



 

Part 3—Other amendments

 

Indigenous Education (Supplementary Assistance) Act 1989

 

Item 11

 

Repeals the Indigenous Education (Supplementary Assistance) Act 1989 .

 

 

Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000

 

Item 12

 

Repeals section 16 of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 which related to transitional arrangements for use of appropriations under the Indigenous Education (Supplementary Assistance) Act 1989 .  These arrangements were available up to 30 June 2002 and the section is no longer required.