Page 2068 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 21 June 2005

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steering committee in late March 2005, I agreed to submit the amendments to this Assembly as an independent bill because I support the national governance protocols and I want the university to access the extra funding that flows from adopting them.

The commonwealth’s Higher Education Support Act 2003 provides for increased financial assistance to universities that satisfy the national governance protocols. To quality for the increased funding, all Australian universities must embed the protocols in their enabling legislation by 31 August 2005. This means an additional 2.5 per cent in 2006 rising to 7.5 per cent in 2008. This equates to approximately $4 million for the University of Canberra by 2008. It is vital that the university have access to these additional funds for the benefit of current and future students.

The bill does not change the number of university council members or the composition of the membership. The current range of university stakeholders currently provided for in the act remains and comprises: the university executive, a person elected by graduates of the university, three members of the academic staff elected by members of that staff, a member of the general staff elected by members of that staff, two students of the university elected by the students of the university, and up to 10 persons appointed by the Chief Minister.

The amendments clearly specify the duty of the university council members, consistent with the national governance protocols, including providing for sanctions where duties are breached, amending the protections to be available to members consistent with the Corporations Act, further quantifying the circumstances in which members must vacate their office to include disqualification as a company director under the Corporations Act, amending the manner in which the deputy chancellor is appointed to the council, because the protocols specify which positions are appointed by virtue of office, and limiting the maximum term of council members to 12 years. I ask that members note that this bill moves the territory forward with an improved university governance framework that protects the interests of students and staff at the University of Canberra. The bill will ensure all council members continue to work for the good of the university.

I recognise the efforts of all governments in developing the protocols and the considerable effort put in by both the university and my department to develop these amendments. Equally, it is imperative that the territory embraces the amendments to support our university and our students, current and future. The amount of extra funding on offer from the commonwealth is not a trivial amount.

Mr Speaker, I commend this bill to members for their consideration.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2005

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

Title read by Clerk.

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