Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP and Providers) Bill 2009

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

 

 

 

 

2008-2009

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT (VET FEE-HELP AND PROVIDERS) BILL 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, the Honourable Julia Gillard MP)

 

 



 

HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT (VET FEE-HELP AND PROVIDERS) BILL 2009

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Bill is to provide for technical amendments to Schedule 1A of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 which clarify that a student can not access VET FEE-HELP assistance to undertake a VET unit of study, unless that VET unit of study is required to be undertaken in order for the student to receive the award associated with that course of study.

 

In addition, new clauses are inserted into Schedule 1A of HESA to ensure that the Minister can revoke the approval as a VET provider of a body corporate, if that body corporate no longer offers at least one VET course of study, or is no longer established under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or no longer carries on business in Australia, or no longer has its central management and control in Australia.

 

These amendments provide appropriate protections for the Minister and the Commonwealth. The amendments in relation to revocation of a body corporate’s approval as a VET provider also mirror those made to HESA in 2007 in relation to higher education providers, ensuring consistency between the FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP Assistance Scheme provisions.

 

The Bill also provides for amendments to allow higher education and VET provider notices of approval to take effect on the day immediately following the day the relevant notice is registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments. The amendments provide for the repeal of the provisions governing the date of effect for such notices. The Legislative Instruments Act 2003 will operate to determine the date of effect for higher education and VET provider notices of approval. The amendments also provide that, in the event a notice of approval ceases to have effect under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 , the cessation has no effect in relation to any rights or responsibilities which have already accrued in relation to the enrolment of students with a higher education or VET provider at the time the notice of approval ceases to have effect.

 

The amendments will ensure that higher education and VET providers will be able to offer FEE-HELP or VET FEE-HELP assistance to students immediately following the registration of the relevant notice of higher education or VET provider approval.

 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

 

There is no financial impact associated with these amendments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT (VET FEE-HELP AND PROVIDERS) BILL 2009

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Provides for the Act to be cited as the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP and Providers) Act 2009.

 

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides that the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP and Providers) Act 2009 will commence on the day after it receives 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.

 

 

For ease of description, this explanatory memorandum uses the following abbreviation:

 

‘the Act’ means the Higher Education Support Act 2003 .



Schedule 1 - VET FEE-HELP

Higher Education Support Act 2003

 

Item 1 - After paragraph 6(d) of Schedule 1A

 

Inserts new paragraph 6(da) into clause 6.  Clause 6 sets out the requirements to be satisfied before the Minister may approve a body corporate as a VET provider.  Proposed paragraph 6(da) is a new requirement that a body corporate must offer at least one VET course of study before the Minister may approve that body corporate as a VET provider.

 

Clause 1 of Schedule 1 of the Act defines VET course of study to mean a structured and integrated program of vocational education or vocational training, usually consisting of a number of modules (units of study) or shorter programs, and leading to the award of a VET diploma, a VET advanced diploma, a VET graduate diploma or a VET graduate certificate.

 

New paragraph 6(da) mirrors paragraph 16-25(da) of the Act, which is a condition that applies to the approval by the Minister of a body corporate as a higher education provider. 

 

 

Item 2 - Application

 

Item 2 is an application provision relating to Item 1 which provides that paragraph 6(da) of Schedule 1A will apply to decisions about approvals of bodies corporate whose applications are made after the commencement of that paragraph.

 

 

Item 3 - After clause 30 of Schedule 1A

 

Inserts new clause 30A after clause 30 of Schedule 1A.  Proposed clause 30A provides that the Minister may revoke a body’s approval as a VET provider if the body ceases to satisfy the requirements of paragraph 6(a) and the Minister has complied with the requirements of clause 34.

 

Paragraph 6(a) provides that, as a requirement of approval as a VET provider, the body corporate must:

(i)    be established under the law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; and

(ii)   carry on business in Australia; and

(iii)  have its central management and control in Australia.

 

Clause 34 sets out the requirements to be satisfied by the Minister before a body’s approval as a VET provider may be revoked.  Before revoking a body’s approval the Minister must give the body notice in writing:

(a)   stating that the Minister is considering revoking the body’s approval; and

(b)   stating the reasons why the Minister is considering revoking the body’s approval; and

(c)   inviting the body to make written submissions to the Minister within 28 days concerning why the approval should not be revoked.

 



Item 4 - Application

 

Item 4 is an application provision relating to Item 3 which provides that clause 30A of Schedule 1A will apply to approvals granted before, on or after the commencement of that clause.

 

 

Item 5 - After clause 32 of Schedule 1A

 

Inserts new clause 32A after clause 32 of Schedule 1A.  Proposed clause 32A provides that the Minister may revoke a body’s approval as a VET provider if the body ceases to offer VET courses of study, and the Minister has complied with the requirements of clause 34 (process for revoking approval as a provider for loss of status or a breach).

 

 

Item 6 - Application

 

Item 6 is an application provision relating to Item 5 which provides that clause 32A of Schedule 1A will apply to approvals granted as a result of an application made after the commencement of that clause.

 

 

Item 7 - At the end of clause 43 of Schedule 1A

 

Item 7 inserts a note at the end of clause 43 of Schedule 1A relating to Item 9.  This note states that Clause 45A affects whether a person undertakes a VET unit of study as part of a VET course of study.

 

 

Item 8 - At the end of subclause 45(1) of Schedule 1A

 

Item 8 inserts a note at the end of subclause 45(1) of Schedule 1A relating to Item 9.  This note states that clause 45A affects whether a person undertakes a VET unit of study as part of a VET course of study for the purposes of paragraph 45(1)(a).

 

 

Item 9 - At the end of Subdivision 7-A of Schedule 1A

 

Inserts new clause 45A at the end of Subdivision 7-A of Schedule 1A.  Proposed clause 45A disentitles a student to VET FEE-HELP assistance, in respect of a VET unit of study undertaken as part of a VET course of study, if undertaking the unit involves the student doing more than he or she needs to do to be awarded any of the following:

       (a)      a *VET diploma;

       (b)     a *VET advanced diploma;

       (c)      a *VET graduate diploma;

       (d)     a *VET graduate certificate.

 

 



Schedule 2 - Date of effect of approval of providers

Higher Education Support Act 2003     

 

Item 1 - At the end of subsection 16-5(3)

 

Inserts at the end of subsection 16-5(3) the words “or the notice of the provider’s approval ceases to have effect under Part 5 (Parliamentary scrutiny of legislative instruments) of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 ”.

 

This amendment has the effect that if the notice of a higher education provider’s approval ceases to have effect as a result of disallowance by Parliament, in accordance with Part 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 , the body ceases to be a higher education provider.

 

 

Item 2 - Subsection 16-55(2)

 

Repeals and substitutes subsection 16-55(2) to provide that the Minister’s decision to approve a body corporate as a higher education provider will take effect when the notice of approval takes effect in accordance with the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 .  This amendment also includes a note stating that section 12 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 provides for when a legislative instrument takes effect.

 

 

Item 3 - At the end of section 22-1

 

Inserts new subsection 22-1(c).  This is a consequential amendment relating to Amendment 4.

 

 

 Item 4 - At the end of Division 22

 

Inserts new Subdivision 22-E.  New Subdivision 22-E includes new section 22-45 which explains the effect of a higher education provider’s notice of approval ceasing to have effect under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 .  Subsection 22-45(1) makes clear that the provisions of section 22-45 will apply if a decision of the Minister to approve a body corporate as a higher education provider has taken effect, and the body ceases to be approved as a higher education provider because the notice of the approval has ceased to have effect under Part 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003

 

Subsection 22-45(2) clarifies that the cessation of a body as a higher education provider will not:

(i)    affect the operation of the Act, or any instrument made under the Act, in relation to the body before the cessation; or

(ii)   affect anything duly done or suffered in relation to the body before the cessation; or

(iii)  affect any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred before the cessation; or

(iv)  affect any penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred in respect of the body having been a higher education provider; or

(v)   affect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment.

 

This amendment is largely modelled on section 15 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 to the extent that, notwithstanding the cessation of the notice of approval, the cessation will not impact on any rights or responsibilities that have already accrued. 

 

 

Item 5 -At the end of subclause 5(2) of Schedule 1A

 

Inserts the words “or the notice of the VET provider’s approval ceases to have effect under Part 5 (Parliamentary scrutiny of legislative instruments) of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 ”.

 

This amendment has the effect that if the notice of a VET provider’s approval ceases to have effect as a result of disallowance by Parliament, in accordance with Part 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 , the body ceases to be a VET provider.

 

 

Item 6 - Subclause 12(2) of Schedule 1A

 

Repeals and substitutes subclause 12(2) of Schedule 1A to provide that the Minister’s decision to approve a body corporate as a VET provider will take effect when the notice of approval takes effect in accordance with the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 .  This amendment also includes a note stating that section 12 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 provides for when a legislative instrument takes effect.

 

 

Item 7 - At the end of clause 29 of Schedule 1A

 

Inserts new subclause 29(c) in Schedule 1A.  This is a consequential amendment relating to Amendment 8.

 

 

Item 8 - At the end of Division 5 of Schedule 1A

 

Inserts new Subdivision 5-E at the end of Division 5 of Schedule 1A.  New Subdivision 5-E includes new clause 39A which explains the effect of a VET provider’s notice of approval ceasing to have effect under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 .  Subclause 39A(1) clarifies that the provisions of clause 39A will apply if a decision of the Minister to approve a body corporate as a VET provider has taken effect, and the body ceases to be approved as a VET provider because the notice of the approval has ceased to have effect under Part 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003

 

Subclause 39A(2) makes clear that a cessation of a body as a VET provider will not:

(i)    affect the operation of the Act, or any instrument made under the Act, in relation to the body before the cessation; or

(ii)   affect anything duly done or suffered in relation to the body before the cessation; or

(iii)  affect any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred before the cessation; or

(iv)  affect any penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred in respect of the body having been a VET provider; or

(v)   affect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment.

 

This amendment is largely modelled on section 15 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 to the extent that, notwithstanding the cessation of the notice of approval, the cessation will not impact on any rights or responsibilities that have already accrued. 

 

 

Item 9 - Application and transitional provisions

 

Subitem 9(1) is an application provision which specifies that the amendments made by new Schedule 2 apply to decisions to approve bodies corporate as higher education providers or VET providers which were made on or after commencement of Schedule 2. 

 

This application provision will also apply to decisions to approve bodies corporate as higher education providers or VET providers that were made before the commencement of Schedule 2, except for the following decisions:

(i)    any decisions which took effect before commencement of Schedule 2; and

(ii)   any decisions for which the notice of approval ceased to have effect under Part 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 before commencement of Schedule 2.

 

Subitem 9(2) is a transitional provision which stipulates that any decision to approve a body corporate as a higher education provider or VET provider will take effect on commencement of Schedule 2 as long as the notice of approval was registered under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 before commencement of Schedule 2 and, apart from this subitem, the decision would have taken effect prior to commencement of Schedule 2 because of the amendments made by this Schedule applying as described in subitem 9(1).