NTEU's call for the interests of university staff to be recognised by the new Tertiary Eduction Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and for the self accreding status of universities to be legislatively protected have been supported in a new Senate committee report recommending changes to the Legislation.
Currently, the draft TEQSA Legislation now only refers to students, states and territories and does not recognise the role of those who work within our universities. It also ommited to recognise the independence of universities and their self accrediting status.
NTEU argued strongly, both in our written submission and when the Union appeared at the Committee Hearings, that it was vital for the new university Regulator to have regard for those whose work and commitment ensure our univerisites have a future. We also called for the unique role of universities as independent and self accrediting entitites to be explicitly recognised within the Legislation, and positioned echoed by the Sector as a whole.
NTEU's concerns over some of the new Regulator's extensive powers were echoed by others in the sector, with the Group of Eight universities calling for a reference in the legislation to unspecified ``any other standards'' be struck out, as this gave the minister and TEQSA ``unpredictable and unnecessary powers'' beyond the threshold standards set out in the legislation.
The Report also supports NTEU's call for the sector be consulted on the development of the standards framework prior the minister setting the standards.
The Committee recommended seven changes to the primary legislation for the new national regulator, including that communication protocols be established between the states and TEQSA to ensure their processes do not conflict and that TEQSA work closely with the new national VET regulator.
The full report from the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations into the TEQSA Legislation can be accessed at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eet_ctte/teqsa/report/index.htm