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House of Representatives

Higher Education Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2004

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Honourable Dr Brendan Nelson MP)

Outline and financial impact

Outline

The Bill will amend the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to:

·
Set new maximum aggregate funding levels for the Commonwealth Grant Scheme to provide funding for radiation oncology places at the University of Newcastle and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology as Commonwealth supported students for the years 2005-06 (s30-5).
·
Allow Higher Education Providers to operate summer schools as they do now (ss36-10 and 36-35).
·
Extends the time within which students must submit their request for Commonwealth assistance by providing that such requests must be provided to a Higher Education Provider on or before the census date (s36-40).
·
Enable students, who are enrolled in units of study on a cross-institutional basis, to be Commonwealth supported and/or access HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP assistance for those units (ss36-40, 76-1, 90-1, 104-1, 118-1, 193-1).
·
Clarify entitlement to FEE-HELP assistance in relation to successful completion of studies through Open Learning Australia (OLA) (s104-2).
·
Extend and clarify entitlement to OS-HELP assistance (ss115-1, 118-1, 118-5, 118-10, 118-15).
·
Explicitly provide for the time and manner of repayment by higher education providers of advances (s164-10).
·
Include a definition of undergraduate and postgraduate higher education award (ss30-25, 36-15, 36-35, 118-1, 137-10, and Clause 1 of Schedule 1).

The Bill will also amend the Higher Education Support (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2003 to provide for transitional arrangements for the repayment of 'special purpose' grants made under the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 (Part 6 of Schedule 1).

The Bill amends the Australian Research Council Act 2001 to update annual funding caps to reflect revised forward estimates (ss48 and 49).

The Bill will also amend the Australian National University Act 1991, to extend the time within which the Minister must make appointments to the ANU Council from 28 days to 60 days (s10).

Financial impact

In relation to the Higher Education Support Act 2003, the Bill:

·
increases the overall appropriation by $1.617 million for the period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2006;

In relation to the Australian Research Council Act 2001, the Bill:

·
increases the overall appropriation by $501.973 million for the period 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2008.


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