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Education Services for Overseas Students Bill 2000

Part 4 The national code

   

33   The national code

             (1)  The Minister must establish a national code before 2 April 2001.

             (2)  The code is to be called the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students.

             (3)  The national code is a disallowable instrument for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

34   Purpose of the national code

                   The purpose of the national code is to provide nationally consistent standards for the registration and conduct of registered providers.

35   National code must be publicly available

                   The Secretary must make the text of the national code available to the public by electronic or other means.

36   Minister must consult States and industry representatives

             (1)  Each State Minister who is responsible for education may nominate a person for the purpose of consultations with that State about the national code.

             (2)  Before establishing the national code, the Commonwealth Minister must consult each such nominee and persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, represent the interests of providers.

             (3)  At any time, a State Minister may withdraw a nomination and substitute a different person.

37   Establishing the national code

             (1)  The national code is established by the Minister publishing a notice to this effect in the Gazette .

             (2)  The notice must say:

                     (a)  how the public can get access to the text of the national code; and

                     (b)  when the national code takes effect.

38   Contents of the national code

                   The national code must contain some or all of the following:

                     (a)  standards and procedures to be applied by a designated authority in determining whether to recommend that an approved provider be registered;

                     (b)  standards and procedures required of registered providers in providing courses to overseas students;

                     (c)  standards and procedures required of a designated authority in monitoring registered providers’ compliance with, and investigating possible breaches of, the national code;

                     (d)  standards required of registered providers in connection with their dealings with their agents;

                     (e)  standards required of a registered provider of a course in connection with the provider’s dealings with other providers of the course;

                      (f)  rules about the kind of connection required of a provider with a course in order for the provider to be registered;

                     (g)  standards and procedures required of registered providers in making agreements relating to refunds of course money;

                     (h)  standards required of the content of such agreements;

                      (i)  any other matters that are necessary or convenient to give effect to the purpose of the national code.

39   When the national code takes effect

                   The national code must state the day on which it takes effect. The day must be at least 28 days after the national code is established.

40   Legal effects of the national code

                   The only legal effects of the national code are the effects that this Act expressly provides for.

Note:          This Act provides that compliance with the national code is a prerequisite for registration (see section 9) and that sanctions under Division 1 of Part 6 may be imposed on a registered provider who breaches the national code.

41   Notification of the national code

             (1)  Before the national code is established, the Secretary must give each registered provider a written notice of:

                     (a)  the establishment of the national code; and

                     (b)  the day on which the national code takes effect for existing registered providers; and

                     (c)  how the provider can get access to the text of the national code.

             (2)  After the national code is established, whenever the Secretary registers an approved provider under section 9, the Secretary must notify the provider of:

                     (a)  the establishment of the national code; and

                     (b)  if the national code has not yet taken effect—the day on which the national code takes effect for that provider; and

                     (c)  how the provider can get access to the text of the national code.

             (3)  However, a breach of this section does not affect the validity of the national code.

42   Amending the national code

             (1)  The Minister may amend the national code.

Consulting with States

             (2)  Before amending the national code, the Minister must consult each person who has been nominated under section 36 and persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, represent the interests of providers.

Gazette notice

             (3)  The national code is amended by the Minister publishing a notice about the amendment in the Gazette .

             (4)  The notice must set out:

                     (a)  the day on which the amendment takes effect; and

                     (b)  how the public can get access to the text of the amendment and the amended code.

The day on which the amendment takes effect must be at least 28 days after the date of the notice.

Secretary must give written notice

             (5)  The Secretary must give each registered provider a written notice stating:

                     (a)  the day on which the amendment takes effect; and

                     (b)  how the public can get access to the text of the amendment and the amended code.

             (6)  However, a breach of subsection (5) does not affect the validity of the amendment.

43   States to investigate breaches of the national code

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  the Secretary has information suggesting a possible breach of the national code by a registered provider for a State; and

                     (b)  the source of the information is not the designated authority of that State.

             (2)  Before the Secretary investigates the matter further or takes any other action under this Act, the Secretary must notify the designated authority of the possible breach and request the authority to investigate the matter or take any other suitable action.

             (3)  However, the Secretary may investigate the matter or take any other action:

                     (a)  without notifying the designated authority; or

                     (b)  without waiting for the designated authority to investigate or take any other action;

if, in the Secretary’s opinion, the circumstances of the possible breach require urgent action.

44   Regulations may prescribe penalties

             (1)  The regulations may make it an offence to breach prescribed provisions of the national code.

             (2)  The offence must be punishable by a fine of no more than 10 penalty units.