Please note: draft revisions updated 1 April 2021
The charging of compulsory amenities and services fees by universities, and the relationship between such fees and membership of student organisations, has a complex history in Australia in general and in Western Australia in particular. Up until 2011, the charging of a fee of this type in Western Australia was provided for only in State-based legislation, through the enabling acts of universities.
In 2011, following the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010 which amended the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (the HES Act), universities were permitted to charge a compulsory Student Service and Amenities Fee (SSAF) should they so choose.
In 2016, the State Government’s Universities Legislation Amendment Act 2016 (WA) (2016 Amendment Act) which amended the enabling legislation for all five WA universities, effected changes to the Edith Cowan University Act 1984 (WA) (the ECU Act) requiring the University to pay to the Edith Cowan University Student Guild no less than 50 per cent of the student services and amenities fees collected. This reflected the then current practice at ECU.
At its 8 December 2011 meeting ECU Council resolved to charge a (compulsory) SSAF in 2012, to be set at $100 for a full-time on-campus student. The SSAF level was increased for 2013, and since 2014 the SSAF has been charged annually at the maximum permitted under the HES Act. The maximum is indexed annually by the Commonwealth, and is $313 in 2021.
Proposed revisions to Statute 29 and Rules
University Statute No. 29 Student Services and Amenities Fee (Statute 29) was last amended in 2012 and has been under review for some time.
Statute 29 and Rules made under the Statute have been redrafted with the following broad aims:
The most significant of the proposed changes relates to the governance of the annual process for allocating the SSAF funds. The current Statute provides for a Fees Allocation Committee with an independent Chair (dating from the period when the (then) Amenities and Services Fee was governed entirely by the ECU Act). In practice, this Committee has not met for some years, as its role was duplicated by the Student Services and Amenities Fee Steering Committee (SSAF Steering Committee), established by the Council in 2012 as part of the process of consultation between the University and the Guild that aligned with the consultation provisions set out in the Students Services, Amenities, Representation and Advocacy Guidelines (SSARA Guidelines) made under the HES Act.
The draft amendments to Statute 29 propose the establishment of a SSAF Advisory Forum to consider proposals from the University and Students regarding the proposed allocation and expenditure of the collected fees. This is similar in structure and function to that of the current SSAF Steering Committee.
Comments, queries or suggestions with respect to the draft revised Statute and Rules (access from the 'Downloads' tab) are invited from members of the University community. Please direct these by email as follows:
To: Kathryn Clarke, Senior Adviser, University Governance
Deadline: close of business on Friday 16 April 2021
Enquiries: Telephone 6304 2109
University Secretary and General Counsel
30 March 2021
The Legislation and Policy Search Directory is a contemporary, streamlined and user-friendly tool which encompasses all University legislation including statutes, rules, by-laws and policies.
The governance of the University takes place within a specific statutory framework. At the highest level of that framework is the Edith Cowan University Act 1984 (WA) ('the ECU Act'), as amended, which establishes the University as a body corporate, consisting of the Council, the members of staff and the enrolled students.
The Council has the power to make statutes in relation to a range of matters under section 26 of the ECU Act.
Amendments to a statute must be endorsed by Council and transmitted to the Governor for approval via the Minister. Once approved by the Governor, the amendments are to be published in the Government Gazette and tabled in both Houses of Parliament.
By-laws have been enacted to assist in the effective control and management of University lands. By-laws are made pursuant to section 29 of the ECU Act.
Like statutes, amendments to the by-laws must be made by Council, approved by the Governor, gazetted and tabled in both Houses of Parliament.
Pursuant to 26(7) of the ECU Act, Council is authorised to make rules that provide for the regulation of matters specified by statute. Council may, by resolution, revoke or amend the whole or any part of a rule.
Under Statute 4, a rule, or amending rule, must be sealed with the Common Seal of the University and takes effect from the date upon which it is published or from a later date specified in the rule.
University Policies provide a concise, formal statement which describes how members of the University are to act in a particular area of its operation.
University Policies are approved by the University Council (for high level University policies where Council scrutiny is appropriate, consistent with the Matters to be Reserved to Council). The Vice-Chancellor approves all other University Policies.
For more information about University Statutes, By-Laws, Rules and Policies please visit the Strategic and Governance Services Centre web pages.
Please leave a comment about your rating so we can better understand how we might improve the page.