Monday, 9 August 2021
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (Charges) Bill 2021, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2021; In Committee
It would be remiss of me not to rebut what Senator Pratt has just said. Senator Pratt, I'm sure, was sitting here in the chamber when I specifically said that this very modest fee, which has been worked out very fairly, is not a cost for students. It is up to higher education providers to determine how they will cover the cost, and the annual charge will be charged to registered higher education providers. Let me just remind senators that this, again, is a very modest charge, which will be factored in over the next three years—20 per cent next year of between $25,000 and $35,000. Far from being a huge burden, this is a fair fee for service that the providers are currently getting from TEQSA.
Detail about how the charge was proposed to be calculated was set out on page 24 of TEQSA's consultation paper, which I know has been reviewed here in this place. To comply with the Australian Government Charging Framework, the amount of the charge has to be directly linked to the regulatory effort itself and the cost of that. The benefit derived from a service is not a factor in determining the amount of the fee or charge. If benefit were to be included as a factor, the charge would be considered a general tax. I believe—and the government believes—that this is a fair measure. It is actually not a burden on students at all, quite the contrary to what Senator Pratt has just asserted.