MEDIA RELEASE: NTEU requests University contracts with Newcastle International College
The Newcastle Branch of the National Education Tertiary Union (NTEU) today lodged a Government Information (Public Access) (GIPA) request with the University of Newcastle regarding the University’s financial arrangements with a private education provider, Navitas.
The NTEU believes it is in the public interest for University management to reveal financial details regarding the University’s commercial relationship with this private education provider.
Navitas is the parent company of Newcastle International College (NIC). NIC is due to commence classes at the Callaghan campus early in 2012.
Branch President Suzanne Ryan says the “commercial-in-confidence” curtain should be lifted rather than drawn if public confidence in the institution is to be strengthened.
“We have consistently expressed our opposition to a private-provider being given access to publicly-funded facilities at the UoN under an agreement that fails to provide transparency for all stakeholders.
“The pulling down of the “commercial-in-confidence” curtain assists University management in avoiding accountability and cements a veiled process.
“The NTEU remains concerned that the University of Newcastle remains subject to the full provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act. That legislation was specifically designed to improve accountability in the NSW public sector.
The NTEU’s concerns regarding lack of transparency at the University of Newcastle, and any changes to the Government Information Public Access Act that would dilute public accountability through exempting Universities from the full Act, has been expressed in a letter to all Hunter based members of the NSW parliament.
“The NTEU is concerned any changes to the GIPA legislation will assist the University to turn the clock back on accountability,” Dr Ryan said.
The Newcastle branch of the NTEU is committed to an ongoing culture shift at the University that values transparency and accountability in all of the University’s financial dealings whenever such accountability does not breach legal obligations.