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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3829..


University of Canberra Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.53): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill introduces a significant amendment to the University of Canberra Act 1989 by reducing the size and specifying the composition of the university's council. Some additional, related amendments are proposed regarding the Chief Minister's external appointments. Some minor technical amendments are also proposed.

Universities are required to comply with the national governance protocols for higher education providers in order to receive Australian government funding. Consequently, Australian universities are reducing the size of their governing bodies, limiting the number of elected membership and ensuring that external members are in the majority.

Similarly, the review of the governance structures of the University of Canberra council, which was commissioned by the Chief Minister in 2005, identified smaller governing bodies as best practice. It also identified the need for council members to have the requisite skills for the governing body of a significant ACT institution. Therefore, the purpose of the amendments to the University of Canberra Act 1989 is to improve the council's governance.

The bill reduces the size of the council from 22 to 15 members. A council of this size will enable the university to provide three ex-officio and four elected staff and student members, whilst preserving the Chief Minister's ability to appoint the balance of eight members.

During this year both the Chief Minister and I have met regularly with the university, the University Students Association and the National Tertiary Education Union in finalising the restructure of the council. On enactment of this legislation the existing council will be abolished and a new council created. New appointments will be for a three-year term, which can be extended for no more than a total of nine years. Some of these appointments will be staggered to allow for continuity of experience and skill.

In line with the national governance protocols and the Chief Minister's review, the ministerial appointments will be of external, independent members who are neither enrolled as students nor employed by the university. The bill now stipulates that these appointments must collectively have skills in finance, management, commerce, law and teaching.

The amendment proposes, for the first time, that external members be paid at a rate determined by the remuneration tribunal, with costs to be met by the university. With


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