Government walks the talk on cutting red tape
Today's announcement by the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, of a number of measures to reduce the regulatory and reporting burden on universities represents practical and early action by the Minister on a key government election commitment.
"In opposition the Coalition made very clear its intention, if elected, to reduce red tape across the economy," said Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of peak body, Universities Australia.
"These commitments can take time to work through after an election but we are very pleased at the prompt attention the Minister is giving to this very important matter in accepting all eleven recommendations of the recent Review of Higher Education Regulation.
"Universities Australia estimates that universities spend approximately $280 million a year on regulatory compliance and reporting.
"A typical university must report over 50 different datasets to the Department of Education, comprising 200 reporting instances per year, as well as over 50 data sets to other Departments. This time and effort could be better spent on the key function of universities - teaching, scholarship and research."
"A more efficient regulatory regime is also required to encourage rather than impede innovation and the ability for institutions to experiment with new business models in adapting to a more globally competitive environment and the opportunities created by digital technology," Ms Robinson said.
Universities Australia has advocated long and hard for the commissioning of the red tape review conducted by Professors Kwong Lee Dow and Valerie Braithwaite and for the PhillipsKPA report, Review of Reporting Requirements for Universities.
The recommendations of both reviews closely reflected the submissions made by Universities Australia.
"We warmly welcome the announcement by the Minister that the government will give full effect to the red-tape review and will shortly be releasing the government's response to the review on university reporting requirements," Ms Robinson said.
"In particular, the move to acknowledge the low risk profile and strong track record of universities through the application of a more timely and light-handed regulatory approach, and the establishment of an advisory council have been strongly advocated and are strongly supported by Universities Australia."
Ms Robinson also welcomed the Treasurer reasserting the Coalition's pre-election promise not to cut education through the Commission of Audit process.
"In Opposition, the Coalition made clear statements on the importance of international education, of cutting unnecessary red tape and on preserving the education budget. Already we have seen them walk the talk on all key government priorities," Ms Robinson said.
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