Financial Services Reform (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2002

Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

Bills Digest No. 110 2001-02
Higher Education Legislation Amendment Bill (No.2) 2002

This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.


Passage History
Main Provisions
Contact Officer & Copyright Details

Passage History

Higher Education Legislation Amendment Bill (No.2) 2002

Date Introduced: 20 February 2002

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Education, Science and Training

Commencement: Royal Assent


This Bill amends the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 and the Australian Research Council Act 2001:

  • to adjust grants for inflation and to reflect revised estimates, and
  • to make a number of technical and other minor changes.


The major sources of Commonwealth funds for higher education are Part 2.2 of the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 (the HEFA), which provides grants for universities, and the Australian Research Council Act 2001 (the ARCA), which funds the research grant schemes administered by the Australian Research Council. The HEFA provides maximum global amounts for broad categories of expenditure on a calendar year basis. The categories include operating grants (section 17), superannuation expenses (section 20), research and other special purposes (section 23), and capital projects (section 27A). Allocations for individual institutions are the subject of determinations by the Minister, which are disallowable by Parliament. Both Acts are amended annually to adjust grants for movements in prices and to add a year to the triennial funding provisions.

The Government's higher education programs are described in annual reports, the most recent being the Higher Education Report for the 2002 to 2004 Triennium.(2) Details of the Australian Research Council's programs can be obtained from their Internet site.(3)

In addition to indexation arrangements, the changes to the HEFA funding figures contained in this Bill reflect:

  • revised estimates of receipts under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS)(4) and of the Commonwealth's superannuation liability
  • a transfer of funds to enable the Institute of Advanced Studies of the Australian National University to access block research grants and the Charles Sturt University to convert places to the Research Training Scheme, and
  • an advance of operating grant to the University of Adelaide and the repayment of that advance.

The following table summarises the financial provisions of the Bill. The previous legislated funding levels are shown in brackets. These are from the Innovation and Education Legislation Amendment Act (No.2) 2001 and the Higher Education Funding Amendment Act 2001.

Type of Grant


$ million


$ million


$ million


$ million


$ million

HEFA grants


- Operating grants (s.17)









- Superannuation (s.20)








- Open learning (s.22A)






- Special research (s.23C)








- Teaching hospitals (s.24)








- Capital projects (s.27A)








- International marketing (s.27D)










- Research grants (s.49)









Main Provisions

Items 1 to 8 of Schedule 1 substitute new funding levels for grants of assistance to higher education institutions under the HEFA.

Item 3 of Schedule 2 substitutes new funding levels for research grants made under the ARCA.

Part 2 of Schedule 2 amends the ARCA to give the Australian Research Council the power to establish committees (other than committees which make funding recommendations under section 52) without Ministerial approval.


  1. Further background on higher education funding policies can be obtained from the Parliamentary Library brief at:
  2. A draft pre-print of this report is available at:

  3. See:
  4. For further background on HECS, see the Parliamentary Library brief at:


Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Kim Jackson
13 March 2002
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 2002

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 2002.

Back to top