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HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING AMENDMENT BILL 2002—SENATE'S AMENDMENTS

The order of the day having been read for the consideration of the amendments made by the Senate—

On the motion of Dr Nelson (Minister for Education, Science and Training), amendments 1, 4, 5, 9, 10 11, 12, 14 and 15 were agreed to, after debate.

On the motion of Dr Nelson, amendments 3 and 7 were disagreed to, after debate.

Dr Nelson presented reasons, which were circulated, and are as follows:


Reasons of the House of Representatives for disagreeing to the amendments of the Senate

Senate Amendment Number (3)

The House regards this amendment as being fundamentally incompatible with the current inter-governmental agreement on higher education responsibilities and with the quality assurance framework agreed by MCEETYA in 2000.

The House notes that the amendments passed by the Senate have the effect of repealing the requirement that an eligible course must be accredited by a State or Territory accreditation agency. This requirement is replaced with a de factoCommonwealth accreditation process through a proposed `independent panel'. This would create a duplicate layer of accreditation for the affected institutions.

The House regards accreditation as rightly the responsibility of State and Territory governments. There is no evidence to suggest that the States and Territories have not discharged this responsibility to an acceptable standard.

The House also notes that it is a stated aim of the Government to eliminate bureaucratic duplication. To accept this amendment would be contrary to that aim.

Accordingly, the House of Representatives does not accept this amendment.

Senate Amendment Number (7)

Amendments passed by the Senate provide definitions for new terms. This amendment proposes a definition for `self-accrediting private institution'.

The House of Representatives regards the proposed amendment as unnecessary. Self-accrediting institutions are already recognised, and so defined, by their inclusion in the relevant table at 98AA(1).

Accordingly, the House of Representatives does not accept this amendment.

Therefore, the House of Representatives does not accept these amendments.

On the motion of Dr Nelson, the reasons were adopted.

On the motion of Ms Macklin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition), amendments 2, 6, 8, 13 and 16 were disagreed to and Opposition amendments 1 to 5 were made in place thereof, after debate.