Kate Ellis’s red tape machine

For some reason, Julia Gillard let junior minister Kate Ellis run with student amenities policy, cutting across Gillard’s own broader policy review under Denise Bradley.

Last week Ellis introduced complex legislation to regulate and finance student amenities, when for much of Australia prior to 2006 it had operated without any government regulation at all. Now she has released guidelines that provide more detail on how the legislation would operate.

Student unions are unhappy that the guidelines don’t force universities to give them money. But that they are not forced to do so is perhaps the only thing that can be said in favour of the guidelines.

The guidelines do require higher education institutions receiving tuition subsidies to provide democratic opportunities for students to participate in decision-making, and to provide ‘adequate and reasonable support resources and infrastructure’ for elected students to carry out their functions. They also require students to be given access to independent advocacy services for academic matters, for higher education providers to make available information on and access to health services, accommodation services, legal matters, and employment services.
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