House of Representatives

Higher Education Legislation Amendment (2006 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2006

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Honourable Julie Bishop MP)

Schedule 7-Electronic communications

Higher Education Support Act 2003

Item 1 Sections 174-5, 174-10, 174-15, 174-20 and 174-25

Repeals sections 174-5, 174-10, 174-15, 174-20 and 174-25 and substitutes a new section 174-5 to provide for Guidelines to deal with electronic communications.

Proposed subsection 174-5(1) provides for the Administration Guidelines to make provision for (or in relation to) requiring (or permitting) information or documents to be given by students to higher education providers, or by higher education providers to students, in accordance with particular information technology requirements on a particular kind of data storage device or by means of a particular kind of electronic communication.

Proposed subsection 174-5(2) provides that the Administration Guidelines may make provision for (or in relation to) requiring, in relation to an electronic communication from a student to a higher education provider, that:

the communication contain an electronic signature (however described); or
the communication contain a unique identification in an electronic form; or
a particular method be used to identify the originator of the communication and to indicate the originator's approval of the information communicated.

Proposed subsection 174-5(3) provides that the reference in subsection 174-5(1) to giving information includes a reference to anything that is giving information for the purposes of section 9 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 .

Proposed subsection 174-5(4) provides that in section 174-5 the terms data storage device, electronic communication, information and information technology requirements have the same meaning as in the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 .

It is not intended that the Guidelines will compel students to accept or use electronic communications.

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