University submissions 2011


NHMRC Consultation Conflicts of Interest - December 2011

On the 17th October the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released a consultation paper with draft policy and guidelines on “Identifying and Managing Conflicts of Interest for NHMRC Committees and Working Groups Developing Guidelines. The draft policy and guidelines can be found on the NHMRC website.

This draft policy and guideline aims to ensure the best expertise is available to serve on committees and working parties and that the policy and guidelines developed by these groups have the public confidence.

The University of Sydney submission was preprared by the DVC Research.


Commonwealth Supported Postgraduate Places Review - December 2011

On 1 November 2011 DEEWR released a consultation paper titled: The Allocation and Funding of Commonwealth Supported Places

From 2012, the Government will fund Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for all undergraduate domestic students (excluding medicine) accepted into a bachelor level course at a public university. It will, however, continue to allocate Commonwealth supported student places for postgraduate courses of study. The introduction of demand-driven funding in full from 2012 for bachelor degrees has made the Government’s recent approach to the allocation of CSPs for postgraduate courses problematic. The reforms have made it difficult for the Government to manage a process where institutions ‘trade’ undergraduate places for postgraduate places.

The Consultation Paper therefore proposed four options for reform which are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The Government was seeking submissions from the sector to inform its longer term approach to supporting non-research postgraduate study.

The University’s submission of 16 December 2011 was prepared following consultation with all faculties. It proposed a preferred hybrid model which the University believes would meet the Government’s objectives while providing sufficient flexibility to support institutions to pursue diverse strategies.


Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes - December 2011

On 23rd September 2011 the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released a discussion paper available here
with a draft revision of the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, (7th Edition 2004) for public consultation. The consultation aimed to ensure that the code continues to be relevant, accurate and applicable guide to the ethical and humane care and use of animals for scientific purposes. The Research Integrity Animal Ethics committee prepared the University of Sydney's submission.


Industry Action Plans - November 2011

On 24 October the NSW Government announced that it's "Have your Say" website had opened and that residents and organisations were invited to contribute to the development of Industry Action Plans to position the State's economy for growth over the next decade.

Please refer to the Industry Action Plans website for more information.

The University made a submission to each of the following forums:

Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People - November 2011

On 14 April 2011, the Australian Government announced a Review into higher education access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The review will look at issues of representational parity within education, best practice and opportunities for change, the effectiveness of existing Federal Government programs and the recognition of Indigenous knowledge in the higher education sector. The review panel is chaired by Professor Larissa Behrendt. Information about the review can be found here. Released in September for the consultation process was a Context Paper and a Research Paper.

The University's submission, prepared by Professor Shane Houston, was provided to the review panel on 18 November.

NSW Health and Medical Research Strategic Review - November 2011

As part of the Better Patient Care: Boost for Medical Research 2011 election policy, the NSW Government committed to review the current performance of health and medical research in NSW and recommend a strategic plan for the next ten years.

This Review was lead by Mr Peter Wills AC. Released on October 31 was the Discussion Paper for the final phase of public consultations for the [NSW Health and Medical Research Strategic Review||http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/omr/review/], a comprehensive 10-year plan to ensure NSW remains a world-leader in medical research and technology.

The University of Sydney contributed to a collaborative submission with the University of Newcastle and the University of NSW. The New South Wales Deputy and Pro Vice-Chancellors’ (Research) Committee of the NSWVCC also made a submission available here.

The University made a submission in August in the initial stage of the consultation process and a further submission in September.


Health Workforce Fund - October 2011

In October the Federal Government released its Health Workforce Fund Discussion paper calling for feedback on the Government's 2011-12 Budget plan to consolidate 37 individual programs to establish the Health Workforce Fund.

This is part of a program of consolidation announced in this year’s Commonwealth budget designed to save some $54 million in administrative expenses over the four years 2011-2015. Further information about this can be found on the Government's webpage.

The University's response was sent by the Provost and prepared in consultation with members of the Clinical Training Advisory Committee (CTAC). Amongst other things, this letter addresses the need for better coordination between DoHA and education
providers emphasising the need for enhanced levels of engagement.


International Student Accommodation Inquiry - October 2011

On 16 September the University received a letter from Bruce Notley-Smith, Chair of the NSW Parliament Legislative Assembley Social Policy Committee seeking a submission from the University about international student accommodation in NSW. This correspondence from the NSW Parliament includes the terms of reference and background information for this inquiry.

Further information about this inquiry can be found on the NSW Parliament website.

The University's response was prepared by the DVC (Education) with input from Student Services, Campus Infrastructure Services and the Scholarships Office. The University's submission can be found here.


NSW Health Professional Councils - October 2011

In September NSW Health sent the University a Discussion Paper on the composition of Health Professional Councils. Under the national registration and accreditation scheme for health professionals which commenced in 2010, registration of health professionals occurs at the national level. NSW, however, has retained a stated based approach to dealing with conduct, health and performance issues with the establishment of a health professional council for each profession to oversee these functions.

The size of the different professional councils differs and there was a restructure of the smaller councils in January this year with restructuring of the larger councils still to occur. The NSW Health Discussion Paper allowed the opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback on the governance structure of these councils before 7 October 2011. The University’s submission was written with contributions and feedback from the relevant health disciplines.


Health and Medical Research Strategic Review - September 2011

In the build up to the March 2011 NSW election the then Shadow Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, announced a $20 million policy package called Better Patient Care: Boost for Medical Research 2011. As part of this policy package, the NSW Government committed to review the current performance of health and medical research in NSW and recommend a strategic plan for the next ten years. Mr Peter Wills AC, a highly respected health advocate, was selected to lead the review.

This current round is the second of three scheduled consultation rounds for the Review. This round provides an opportunity for early critique of emerging ideas, and to contribute to the development of recommendations for implementation, as advanced in the issues paper NSW Health and Medical Research Strategic Review: Issues Paper (1 September 2011).

The Issues Paper presents:

  • background to the review;
  • an analysis of the current performance of health and medical research supported by a fact base with research metrics including income, research activity and outputs, research workforce and commercial success;
  • themes emerging from consultations to date;
  • a preliminary strategy framework; and,
  • options for actions and potential outcomes from the review.

The Universities of New South Wales and Sydney's jointly developed submission is available here. The NSW Deputy Vice-Chancellors’ and Pro Vice-Chancellors’ (Research) Committee submission to the issues paper can be found here.

Responses to the initial consultation for the Review from the University and the NSW Deputy Vice-Chancellors’ and Pro Vice-Chancellors’ (Research) Committee can be found here. The final round of consultations will follow the release of a draft report scheduled for mid-October (16/10-14/11). The panel will host interviews and roundtables with experts and stakeholder groups alongside formal submission processes.


TEQSA Qualification Standards and the Australian Qualifications Framework - September 2011

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) released draft TEQSA Qualification Standards for public consultation on 6 September 2011, with comments due by 15 September. The draft standards are based on the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) which was implemented in July 2011 as Australia’s national policy for regulated qualifications. Once enacted by the Minister for Education the Qualification Standards will be applied by TEQSA under the new quality assurance and regulatory arrangements for the higher education sector. The Qualification Standards, together with the Provider Standards, will form the Threshold Standards for TEQSA.

Education providers must ensure that any awards must meet the specification described in the AQF. TEQSA is also responsible for monitoring any higher education awards which cannot be located against an existing AQF level.

TEQSA was established on 30 July 2011 by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 and its regulatory powers will commence on 30 January 2012. After this date, all registered higher education providers will be listed on the National Register of Higher Education Providers (National Register) which will contain accurate, current and verifiable information about the provider and the awards they offer. The existing AQF Register will link to the National Register to ensure that students can access information regarding the awards providers offer and their credit transfer arrangements.
The University of Sydney’s submission was provided to DEEWR for consideration. The University’s principal concerns relate to the potential for aspects of the draft Qualification Standards to be used by TEQSA to restrict the powers of the University to offer courses of education which, as a recognised self-accrediting body, it determines to be academically sound even though they do not fit on the AQF.

Further information about the draft Qualification Standards can be found on the DEEWR website and information about TEQSA can be found on the new TEQSA website.


Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) funding allocation model – September 2011

DIISR’s Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) initiative provides significant additional recurrent funding to address the recognised gap in support for the indirect costs of university research supported by Australian competitive grants (ACG).

SRE allocations in 2011 had three elements:

  • Base. 20% based on each university’s relative share of ACG income in previous two years;
  • Threshold 1. 13% based on relative share of ACG income earned annually up to and including $2.5 million; and
  • Threshold 2. 67% based on share of ACG above $2.5m annually, moderated by a Transparent Cost (TC) factor and an interim performance factor.

DIISR’s SRE Consultation Paper on Options for the Inclusion of ERA in SRE Funding Allocation Model, August 2011 sought input from the sector to assist DIISR with the development of a funding model which includes performance in the Excellence in Research for Australia Initiative (ERA) as a driver.

The University’s 28 September 2011 response to the Consultation Paper is available here.


Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) Review of the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) Industry and Other income (Category 3), and the Joint Research Engagement Scheme (JRE) - September 2011

In August 2011 DIISR announced that in conjunction with its Higher Education Data Advisory Committee (HERDAC) it would undertake a review of the components of Category 3 of the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) and the Joint Research Engagement (JRE) block research funding scheme.

Details about the review, including its terms of references and the consultation paper released by DIISR to stimulate discussion with the sector are available through the DIISR website. The background on the JRE is also available through the DIISR website.

The JRE replaced the Institutional Grant Scheme (IGS) in 2010, when Category 1 Research Income (income earned from peer reviewed Australian Competitive Grant schemes) was removed from the funding formula. The aim of this reform was to provide an added incentive for Australian universities to diversify their sources of research income, particularly through greater engagement and collaboration with industry.

The JRE is the most flexible of the various research block funding schemes. It provides essential support for research and research training in Australian universities. As a result of the 2010 reforms, around $320 million in JRE funding annually is now distributed according to a formula based on 60% Category 2 and Category 3 Research Income, 30% Higher Degree by Research student load, and 10% weighted publications. These are all reported annually by universities through the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC). The University of Sydney contributed to submissions provided to the review by the Group of Eight (Go8) and Universities Australia, but also made its own brief submission. The University’s 7 September 2011 submission, made by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jill Trewhella:

  • offered support for the considered and highly consultative way that the review is being conducted
  • stressed the University’s support for measures to encourage collaboration between universities, industry and other end-users of research
  • drew attention to some potential unintended consequences arising from the removal of Category 1 research income from the JRE
  • stressed the need for the review of the JRE and other research block funding schemes to result in a coherent outcome, which has all components of the block funding framework working in an integrated way in support of agreed policy objectives for the future of Australian university research and research training
  • suggested that consideration be given to replacing weighted publications in all research block funding schemes with a metric based on performance in the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) initiative, weighted by an appropriate volume metric

The University of Sydney’s submission is available here.

The purpose of the Review is to:

  • assess the appropriateness of the components of Category 3 and the JRE
  • compare and analyse the sources of income reported by higher education providers (HEPs) under Category 3 income over the period 2006 – 2010, including to inform a review of the JRE Scheme
  • examine the validity of the current Category 3 allowable items as appropriate indication of research income in the HERDC;
  • consider the relevance of Category 3 income inputs to the policy intent of the research block grants, particularly in relation to the JRE scheme which is intended to support collaborative research activities between universities, industry and end-users by: examining HEPs expenditure patterns of JRE funding;
  • consider the relevance and weighting of the various elements in the JRE formula, including student load; and
  • provide advice to the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research on outcomes from the review.

NSW Health and Medical Research Strategic Review - August 2011

In the build up to the March 2011 NSW election the then Shadow Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, announced a $20 million policy package called Better Patient Care: Boost for Medical Research 2011

The five key elements of the policy as announced were:

  • Appoint respected research advocate Mr Peter Wills AC to help develop a 10-year Health and Medical Research Strategic Plan for NSW;
  • Create an Office of Medical Research, with a dedicated budget reporting to the Health Minister;
  • Create a separate Office of Science, Research and Productivity, oversighted by the Chief Scientist reporting to the industry portfolio minister;
  • Create a medical devices seed funding program;
  • Allocate more funds for the Medical Research Support Program (MRSP)

Peter Wills chaired the last major national review of health and medical research in Australia. Completed in 1998, the Virtuous Cycle report, now generally referred to as the Wills Review, was highly influential in informing the Howard Government’s strategies and increased investment in health and medical research.

The terms of reference for the NSW Wills Review 2011 can be found here. In particular the Review has been asked to:

  • Identify how well the health and medical research profile meets the health needs across the metropolitan and regional areas of the State and how it may contribute to the evolving health system in the future.
  • Identify the current profile of the NSW health and medical research workforce and assess its capacity to support the State’s future research developments.
  • Make recommendations on measures which might be taken to ensure NSW’s research capacity is matched to the need.
    Develop an economic framework to support the recommended strategic plan.
  • Ensure appropriate links with industry to ensure commercialisation of new discoveries.

In addressing these issues the Review will look broadly at NSW’s comparative performance, infrastructure and support mechanisms, alignment with future health priorities, leveraging capacity, coordination of the effort, research industry linkages and clinical trial capacity. Further information about the NSW Health and Medical Research Strategic Review can be found here.

The Wills Review of Health and Medical Research in NSW will assess current performance and develop a 10 year strategic plan for health and medical research in NSW.

This is the first of three scheduled consultation rounds. Subsequent consultations are coordinated around the release of an issues paper early-September (5-26/9) and a draft report mid-October (16/10-14/11). The panel will host interviews and roundtables with experts and stakeholder groups alongside formal submission processes.


Not for Profit and Charity Budget 2011 Reform proposals

In the 2011-12 Federal budget the Government announced plans to reform tax concessions arrangements for charities and not-for-profit (NFP) entities, including universities.

The Government’s reform proposals are summarised in the consultation paper about their design and implementation, released by Treasury on 27 May 2011. Information can be found on the Treasury website.

Essentially, the reform proposals seek to:

  • from 1 July 2011, tax new ‘unrelated commercial activities’ of charities and NFP entities, where the profits from such activities are not ‘directed’ back to the ‘altruistic’ purposes of the entity; and
  • remove some tax concessions available to charities and NFPs in relation to these activities – ie tax deductible gift recipient status, FBT exemptions or rebates and GST.

The policy intention appears to be to retain tax exemptions and concessions for charities and NFP organisations in relation to activities where there is a clear financial connection between the activity and the ‘altruistic’ purposes of the organisation.

The University is concerned, however, that much will hinge on the detail of implementation and issues such as the approach that the Government takes to determining whether profits have been ‘directed’ appropriately and the definition of an ‘unrelated commercial activity’.

Particular concerns are held that under the proposed reforms profits earned by a commercial operation of a charity or NFP, that are reinvested into that operation (or another commercial operation in the short term) in order to secure or grow a funding source, may now be taxed – thus creating a disincentive for charities and NFPs to pursue innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to securing alternative funding streams for their core public good purposes. Moreover, a restrictive definition of an ‘unrelated commercial entity’ would see the removal of tax concessions, which would add further disincentive for charities and NFPs to pursue such activities. In relation to FBT for example, it has been argued that removing concessions would make it more difficult for charities and other NFPs to compete with the private sector for staff.

The chief financial officers of thirteen universities in NSW, QLD WA the ACT have collaborated in order to enable Ernst & Young Advisers & Accountants to make a comprehensive submission on behalf of all universities, addressing all relevant issues. Universities in Victoria have also collaborated to make a submission in similar terms about the reforms to the Commonwealth Treasury.

The Ernst & Young submission can be found here.


Strategic Infrastructure Roadmap

DIISR is developing a new Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure under the strategic leadership of
the National Research Infrastructure Council (NRIC) to guide government investment in strategically important research infrastructure to improve Australia’s research capacity and outcomes.

An exposure draft of the 2011 Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure Roadmap, including feedback from the discussion paper (March 2011), was released June 2011 for comment. This explores 17 specific capability areas at a fairly high-level, plus the underpinning capability of eResearch infrastructure, that contribute in multiple ways to the National Research Priorities (NRPs). The exposure draft is available here. The University’s submission is available here. It is anticipated that the final roadmap will be presented to the Minister in September 2011.

The University of Sydney made submissions to three earlier NRIC consultations/discussion papers in the lead up to the current paper: A process to identify and prioritise Australia’s Landmark Research Infrastructure needs (June 2010) seeking comment on a proposed process for identifying and prioritising landmark research infrastructure projects and Strategic Framework for Research Infrastructure Investment (December 2010), which sought comment on the possible key components and principles of a strategic framework; and the 2011 Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure Discussion Paper (March 2011), the initial roadmap consultation contributing to the current exposure draft.


TEQSA Teaching and Learning Standards

The legislation establishing the Tertiary Education and Standards Agency (TEQSA) passed through Federal Parliament in late June and received royal assent in early July. In mid June 2011 the Interim TEQSA Commission, Chaired by Denise Bradley, released a Discussion Paper to initiate discussion with the sector and other stakeholders about possible approaches to articulating, reviewing and reporting on teaching and learning standards in Australian higher education. Once TEQSA is operational a ‘Higher Education Standards Panel’ will be created as a critical part of the new national standards-based regulatory framework. To be comprised of a Chair and from 4 to 10 other members, the TEQSA Higher Education Standards Panel will advise and make recommendations directly to the ministers for Education and Research on developing, making and varying the five sets of standards that will together constitute the TEQSA Standards Framework, as well as in relation to any other matters relevant to the standards.

The Interim TEQSA Commission was therefore seeking feedback on the Discussion Paper in advance of the establishment of the Standard Panel, in order to allow the Panel to hit the ground running once it is established. Comments received in response to the Discussion Paper are to be provided to the Standards Panel to inform its early work. The University’s submission in response to the Discussion Paper is available here. The key issues addressed in the University’s submission include the need for the TEQSA standards framework, both in its design and implementation, to:

  • safeguard institutional autonomy
  • focus on outcomes more than processes
  • address linkages between research and research training
  • consider the relationships between standard setting and funding
  • apply international standards and benchmarks, and
  • draw on expert advice from the sector inform thinking about measuring standards and performance

The establishment of TEQSA and the implementation of a standards-based approach to regulation and quality assurance represent major changes for the Australian higher education sector. The University is monitoring developments closely and is keen to be part of the national discussion that will be led by the TEQSA Standards panel once established, about the appropriate design and implementation of the new arrangements.


TEQSA Provider Standards - June 2011

DEEWR announced in April that the third draft of the TEQSA Provider Standards had been developed and were available on its website for public comment. Feedback on the third draft of the Provider Standards was required by 2 June. The University's earlier submissions to TEQSA can be found here.

The Interim Chair of TEQSA, Denise Bradley, has given assurances that key to the success of the new regulatory and quality assurance arrangements is the active involvement of stakeholders. DEEWR has been engaged in an extensive consultation process with the higher education sector on the development of the Provider Standards. According to DEEWR, the previous feedback stages showed that most stakeholders were concerned with the issues regarding 'self-accrediting authority' and 'categories of providers'. TEQSA advises that this feedback had been incorporated to the third Provider Standards draft.
See here for the University of Sydney's response to the third draft of the Provider Standards.


National Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategic Framework - May 2011

Health Workforce Australia has developed a draft National Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategic Framework for Action and have released this framework for consultation and feedback from stakeholders. More information about this strategic framework can be found on the HWA website. The University's submission, which was sent from the Provost, was completed with input from the Clinical Training Advisory Committee and can be found here.


National Clinical Supervision Support Framework - May 2011

In September 2010, the University made a submission to Health Workforce Australia's request for stakeholder feedback relating to the Clinical Supervisor Support Program. See here for information about the previous call for feedback and Sydney University's submission. From the feedback received, Health Workforce Australia has drafted a National Clinical Supervision Support Framework. Universities were asked to comment on this draft framework. Sydney University's submission was prepared in consultation with the newly formed Clinical Training Advisory Committee, and that response can be found here.


Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure - May 2011

DIISR is developing a new Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure under the strategic leadership of
the National Research Infrastructure Council (NRIC) to guide government investment in strategically important research infrastructure to improve Australia’s research capacity and outcomes. Six Expert Working Groups structured around the national research priorities developed the 2011 Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure Discussion Paper (March 2010) including their views on strategic developments, emerging trends and specific capabilities required to underpin excellent, innovative research. Details on NRIC and the 2011 Strategic Roadmap are available from here. The university’s submission is available here.
An exposure draft Roadmap is scheduled to be released for public comment in early June 2011, with comments closing early July 2011. It is anticipated that the final roadmap will be presented to the Minister in August 2011.

NB. The University of Sydney made submissions to two earlier NRIC consultations/discussion papers in the lead up to the current paper: A process to identify and prioritise Australia’s Landmark Research Infrastructure needs (June 2010) seeking comment on a proposed process for identifying and prioritising landmark research infrastructure projects and Strategic Framework for Research Infrastructure Investment (December 2010), which sought comment on the possible key components and principles of a strategic framework.


Student Income Support Review - April 2011

On 16 March, Senator Chris Evans announced that Professor Kwong Lee Dow AM, former Melbourne University Vice-Chancellor, would chair a review into the impact of the Australian Government’s student income support reforms. Following consideration of the findings of the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education, the Government introduced comprehensive reforms attempting to ensure that more students across Australia have fairer access to student income support.
More information about the review can be found on the DEEWR website. Universities were invited to make sumissions to the review. The University of Sydney submission was prepared with the collaboration of Student Support Services, the Scholarships Office, SUPRA and the SRC and the Director, Policy Analysis. A letter from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Sydney's submission can be found here.


Review of Student Visa programme - April 2011

The Australian Government has commissioned a strategic review of the student visa program, headed by the Hon Michael Knight AO, which is to report to government in mid 2011.

The review allows education providers and stakeholders to share their vision of the sector's future. It is tasked with enhancing the continued competitiveness of the international education sector, as well as strengthening the integrity of the Student visa program.
On 7 March 2011 a discussion paper, which provides a brief overview of some of the key issues which have emerged from his first round of consultations, was released.

Further information about this review can be found on the Government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship webpage.

The University's submission was forwarded to the review panel on April 15 and can be found here.


Reviews of the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 and Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 – March 2011

In December 2010 the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Hon Mark Butler, announced a review of the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 as is prescribed by the Acts. The Minister, with the agreement of each State and Territory government, appointed an independent five person Review Committee, Chaired by the Hon Peter Heerey QC, with extensive experience in medicine, research, ethics and the law. The Review Committee’s call for public submissions was released on 15 January 2011 and the review's Terms of Reference can be found on the Legislative Review website.
Sydney’s submission dated 18th March 2011 can be found here.
After the consultations are complete, the Committee will prepare a report for each Act with recommendations for amendments (if any). These reports will be submitted to COAG and tabled in both Houses of the Australian Parliament. The Australian Government will consider the findings of the reviews in consultation with State and Territory governments.


Higher Education Base Funding Review - March 2011

In October last year the Federal Government announced a review of higher education funding as part of its response to the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education. The idea of the review is to build on the Government's higher education reforms by establishing the principles for public investment in Australian higher education, the funding levels required for Australia to remain internationally competitive and the appropriate level of public and private contribution.

Further information about the review and Sydney's preliminary response can be found here

On 31 March the University made its final submission to the Base Funding Review panel. Our submission is in line with that made by the Go8 and can be found here.


Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) - March 2011

The Australian Government is establishing a new national regulatory and quality agency for higher education, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). TEQSA will be established this year as an independent body with powers to regulate university and non-university higher education providers, monitor quality and set standards. Further information about TEQSA can be found on the DEEWR website. On February 24 the Federal Government released its draft legislation establishing TEQSA, requesting public comment. The University submitted its response to the Minister of Education on 10 March. The University's submission can be found here. Universities Australia's submission can also be found here.

The University's subsequent TEQSA submission, to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee was submitted on April 13. This submission included legal advice received by the University and outlined the University's concerns with elements of the proposed legislation for the Agency. The University's second submission can be found here.

Back to TEQSA June submission


Advanced Health Research Centres - March 2011

In December 2010 the NHMRC released a discussion paper, which can be found here outlining its plans to encourage the development of Advanced Health Research Centres (AHRC) through universities, medical research institutes and hospitals working together to support research and the translation of research outcomes to improve health outcomes. Under its proposal, the NHMRC plans to invite consortia of universities, research institutes and hospitals to apply for recognition of the outstanding quality of their collaborations. Initially, consortia that meet selection criteria set by the NHMRC will be recognised as ‘NHMRC Advanced Health Research Centres’. This is a potentially important development for the Australian health system, which would bring Australia in line with leading approaches internationally. Members of the Sydney Medical School have been involved in NHMRC discussions that have brought the proposal to this point, and the Health Division will lead the development of the University’s input to these consultations. The University provided its submission, which can be found here, on 5 March 2011.


National Broadband Network - February 2011

On 9 December 2010 the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications commenced a new inquiry into the National Broadband Network (NBN). For further information about his inquiry please see here. The committee has been asked to look at the capacity of the NBN to deliver government services and programs, achieving health outcomes, improving educational resources and training available for teachers and students, interactions with research and development and related innovation investments, and facilitating community and social benefits, amongst other things. The committee asked for submissions to the inquiry and the University made its submission on February 25. The University’s submission was prepared in collaboration with Bruce Meikle and members of the ICT team. The University's submission can be found here.


National Research Infrastructure Council - February 2011

The National Research Infrastructure Council (NRIC) was established by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research in May 2009 to provide strategic advice on research infrastructure planning and investments, specifically in the form of a strategic framework for research infrastructure investment. The framework is intended to guide future research infrastructure and funding. The NRIC has called for input from stakeholders into the development of a process for updating the strategic framework originally developed by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). Further information about NRIC and its plans are available here

This submission was prepared by the Research Portfolio in consultation with the Infrastructure sub-committee of the SEG Research Committee and was submitted on 11 February. Sydney's submission can be found here


Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) - Feb 2010

On 31 January 2010 the Equity Branch of DEEWR released a proposed compulsory reporting template for its new Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program (HEPPP). The HEPPP commenced in 2010 as part of the Australian Government’s response to the Bradley Review of Higher Education. It replaced and expanded previous funding programs targeted at increasing and supporting the participation of students from underrepresented groups. Under the program, institutions receive funding based on their enrolments of students from low SES backgrounds, as well as to facilitate partnership arrangements with schools, TAFEs and community groups. In 2010 some $56.4 million was allocated to institutions under both elements of the program, with the University receiving $1.845 million. In 2011 the University’s funding for the participation component ($1.5 million in 2010) is expected to be higher, while the partnership component ($345,000 facilitation in 2010) may also increase if the University is successful in the competitive process proposed for most of this component. Further information about this program can be found on the DEEWR website.

In the University’s comments on the proposed new reporting requirements, the Government’s social inclusion objectives were endorsed, however, a number of suggestions were made to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the process. For example, the University suggested that most of the reporting requirements be amended to focus on the collection of information explicitly about the application of HEPPP funds, so as to avoid duplication or overstating the impact of the program through the inclusion of complementary initiatives supported from outside the HEPPP program.
The University’s submission and its feedback on the reporting requirements can be found here.