AAC Digest

AARNet government relations quarterly update

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By Peter Elford, AARNet Director, Government Relations

Data Retention

The Government’s data retention legislation passed the Senate as expected and was given “royal assent” on 13th April, 2015. This started a compliance clock for service providers to meet the obligations of the act. AARNet is working to quantify the effort required by the 13th October, 2015 deadline.

Universities Australia has consulted CAUDIT and AARNet regarding advice to institutions about institutional data retention obligations. In particular, where an institution provides services to a third party, institutions may be obligated to undertake data retention. This is very much an issue for each institution to address.

Federal Budget (and subsequent announcements)

The NCRIS program has been funded for not only this year (2015-16), but for one additional year (2016-17), to the tune of $150M per annum. Unfortunately, the funds have come from the Sustainable Research Excellence portion of the research block grants to universities, and the longer term research infrastructure strategy is yet to be detailed, pending the completion and announcement of Phil Clarke’s research infrastructure review. The NCRIS funding has been distributed to the existing NCRIS capabilities at a rate relative to their original grant, as well as allocating some monies to fund Australia’s ongoing membership of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). AARNet’s eResearch team is engaged with the eResearch NCRIS capabilities to explore potential partnerships.

Within the Attorney-General’s portfolio, $131M was allocated to cover costs of data retention implementation. The total cost of implementation was estimated by a PWC survey (of a small portion of mostly bigger providers) to be between $189-320M. No details on how this will be distributed have been released and AARNet remains engaged in the industry consultation process through the industry working group and with the Communications Alliance.

International Education

The Federal Department of Education has commenced a process of consultation regarding a Draft National International Education Strategy. AARNet has provided a submission in response to the discussion paper which recommends the Commonwealth support international research and education network capacity to mitigate Australia’s remote location and hence ensure the sector is globally competitive. In addition, the AARNet Board Chair has been nominated to attend a Ministerial roundtable as part of this consultation.


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