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Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment Bill 2021

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2019 - 2020 - 2021

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

EDUCATION SERVICES FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS (REGISTRATION CHARGES) AMENDMENT BILL 2021

 

 

ADDENDUM TO THE EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

THIS ADDENDUM ADDRESSES MATTERS RAISED BY THE SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE FOR THE SCRUTINY OF BILLS

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education & Youth, the Hon Alan Tudge MP)

 

 

 



Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills

In Scrutiny Digest 10 of 2021 , the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills requested the Minister’s advice as to why it is considered necessary and appropriate to give the Minister broad discretionary powers to exempt providers from a charge in delegated legislation, and whether the Bill can be amended to include at least high-level guidance on the face of the primary legislation regarding when it will be appropriate provide for such exemptions.

 

In Scrutiny Digest 11 of 2021 , the Committee requested the key information provided by the Minister to the Committee in response to its request for advice be included in an Addendum to the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill. That information is as follows.

 

It is appropriate to include the capacity to exempt providers, should it be necessary, in the instrument that defines the parameters of the charge. Having an exemption power in delegated legislation provides the flexibility necessary for the Government to be responsive to the needs of international education providers, either as a whole or for particular classes of providers, and to act quickly if needed. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided numerous examples where the Government needed to respond quickly to provide targeted financial relief to particular groups. This included, for example, the exemption or refund of the regulatory charges for international education providers from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021.

 

Any such exemption, should it be instituted, would necessarily be consistent with the legislative intent outlined in the Bill and the Government’s overarching policy framework, including the Australian Government Charging Framework. The latter requires that entities that create the demand for a function should contribute to the cost of regulation through cost recovery unless the Government has decided to fund that activity. A decision to exempt one or more classes of registered providers from a charge or a component of a charge for a period of time, could not be taken lightly or without careful consideration.

 

The Government does not consider it is necessary to amend the Bill to provide guidance on the application of an exemption provision. As outlined above, any exercise of such a power could only be done after careful consideration and in manner consistent with the legislative intent of the Bill and the Australian Government’s overall cost recovery policy.