Media Release: NTEU seeks details of secret Uni contracts
Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli has told the NSW Parliament that the commercial-in-confidence curtain being drawn by NSW universities to avoid scrutiny concerning arrangements with private partners are “matters for the governing body of each university”.
Minister Piccoli was responding to questions from Hunter MP Sonia Hornery regarding the public subsidisation of private operators. He refused to reveal to what extent the University of Newcastle was subsidising the Navitas owned Newcastle International College,which will begin teaching international students at the university in 2012.
The Vice President of the National Education Tertiary Union (Newcastle Branch) Rod Noble said there is no evidence that the governing body at the University of Newcastle has been provided with financial details regarding the partnership with Newcastle International College.
“At a time when a broad discussion should be taking place, there will be very limited or no protection of the public interest,” Mr Noble said.
“The Minister claims that commercial-in-confidence provisions enable universities to diversify their revenue streams. Yet without financial details available for scrutiny, we fear that taxpayers will end-up subsidising private companies through the use of publicly funded infrastructure and facilities,” he said.
The NTEU has made application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act, for details of the contractual arrangements between the University of Newcastle and Newcastle International College.
It has received notice from the University that it will cost more than $1000 to provide that information.
“We believe that some members of the University management are desperate to keep the details of this arrangement top secret,” Mr Noble said.
“However, the union remains committed to transparency and accountability in all aspects of the university operations.”
You can read more on this story in the Newcastle Herald 7th October 2011 'Government keeps Newcastle uni deal under wraps'