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House of Representatives

Higher Education Funding Amendment Bill 1999

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Treasurer, the Hon Peter Costello, MP)

OUTLINE

The Higher Education Funding Act 1988 (HEFA) makes provision for grants of financial assistance to higher education institutions and other bodies for higher education purposes, establishes the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) and the Open Learning Deferred Payment Scheme (OLDPS) and makes provision for the repayment of monies lent by the Commonwealth to students under those schemes. It also provides for the funding of certain institutions of higher education and associated bodies, and for related purposes.

The Bill amends HEFA to:

·
set the maximum grant amount for operating purposes for higher education institutions for the funding years 1999, 2000 and 2001;
·
vary the maximum total financial assistance payable to higher education institutions for superannuation expenditure for the funding year 2000 and set the maximum total amount of financial assistance for the funding year 2001;
·
vary the maximum aggregate amount of financial assistance which may be granted to open learning organisations for the funding year 2000 and set the maximum aggregate amount of financial assistance for the funding year 2001;
·
vary the limit on total funds available for higher education institutions for certain grants under the Act in respect of the funding years 1999 and 2000 and set the limit on total funds for the funding year 2001;
·
vary the maximum aggregate amount of financial assistance which may be granted to higher education institutions in respect of their teaching hospitals for the 2000 funding year and set the maximum aggregate amount of financial assistance for the 2001 funding year;
·
vary the maximum aggregate amount which may be granted to higher education institutions for approved special capital projects for the 2000 funding year and set the maximum aggregate amount for the 2001 funding year;
·
set the maximum funding level for expenditure on the international marketing and promotion of Australian education and training services by Australian Education International for the 2001 funding year.

The Bill also amends HEFA to make provision for the funding of 60 medical places at James Cook University for the 2001 funding year and for an additional $4.9 million in the 2000 funding year and $9.8 million in the 2001 funding year for Science Lectureships. Higher education research infrastructure funding is also increased by $36.8 million in each of the 2000 and 2001 funding years.

The Bill reflects reductions to the Higher Education Innovation Program for projects of national priority in each of the 2000 and 2001 funding years and savings of $7.8 million in the 2000 funding year and $10.4 million in the 2001 funding year resulting from the phasing out of the Merit Equity Scholarships.


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