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Senate inquiry splits on TEQSA bill

The Australian    |    19 June 2014

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A Senate inquiry into a bill to restructure the higher education regulator has split along party lines.
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Regulatory frameworkThe majority report of the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee has recommended the Senate to pass the bill to streamline the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

The bill would take away its broad quality assessment role, spill the commissioners and restructure the commission, and enlarge the minister’s power to give directions to the agency. It would give commissioners more power to delegate decisions, and allow TEQSA to extend periods for registration and accreditation.

The committee report did suggest TEQSA come up with guidelines to ensure that the power to extend registration and accreditation was used responsibly.

In a dissenting report, Labor deputy chair Sue Lines suggested a series of changes to the bill.

A strong case can be made, even without regard to the radical restructure of higher education set out in the budget that it would be better to allow the evolving operational culture of TEQSA, rather than legislation, to respond to the stakeholders’ objections (about heavy-handed regulation).

In her dissenting report, the Australian Greens’ Lee Rhiannon said the bill ought not to be passed as it stood, with the need for a robust regulator at a time of proposed extension of public funding to private higher education providers.

See
TEQSA bill deferred

 

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