Submission to the Attorney-General’s Department: Commonwealth Integrity Commission Exposure Legislation

IHEA members thank the Attorney-General’s Department for its consultation on this exposure legislation and for the opportunity to provide a submission. IHEA supports the principle behind the exposure legislation, that public investment and funds be protected from corruption and malfeasance. However, there are too many uncertainties and a lack of clarity around some central issues that need to be addressed before IHEA could support the legislation.

The key issues IHEA sees with the current exposure legislation are:

  1. The justification for including higher education providers that are not publicly funded entities remains unclear.
  2. Including independent higher education providers creates unnecessary overlap and duplication in jurisdiction of anti-corruption and integrity regimes at the state and federal levels.
  3. A range of provider types and the business models they use to operate have not been adequately considered and so the precise nature of who and what entity, or part thereof, that will be responsible to the CIC in these different business models is unclear.
  4. Ensuring compliance with the requirements of the CIC and that proper governance is undertaken in relation to this will create an onerous and unnecessary burden on independent higher education providers.

A change in the definition of a “Higher Education Provider” in the exposure legislation from the TEQSA Act’s definition of a provider with those institutions in the Table A category of the Higher Education Support Act, would resolve these challenges.

Further consultation will be required on further versions of the legislation to ensure that these issues are addressed and to ensure there are not adverse unintended consequences of the legislation for the higher education sector.

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