Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector were released by Federal Education Minister, the Honourable Dan Tehan, at Parliament House today.
The Guidelines were developed by a Foreign Interference Taskforce that brought together universities and Australian government agencies around a shared objective of safeguarding the university sector while maintaining openness and autonomy.
Speaking at the event, Taskforce Deputy Chair and RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said he was pleased to be involved in this important piece of work.
“I have been delighted to see the shared commitment of universities and government to safeguard the security of Australia’s universities without undermining the invaluable asset of their openness,” he said.
“The guidelines developed by the Taskforce will enable universities to add to existing tools and assist decision makers as they continue to assess the evolving risks from foreign interference.
“The intent of the Guidelines is not to add to regulatory compliance for universities, nor to contravene university autonomy – but to enhance resources and intelligence for the security of people, research and technology.
“While the Guidelines were only released officially today, I can confirm there has been strong sector support for the process.
“There was significant representation in the drafting of these Guidelines, through the work of individual institutions and peak bodies, working with 10 Government agencies.
“The Guidelines are a testament to all involved and I would like to thank members of the Steering Group and Working Groups for their efforts and significant contributions.
“As a sector, we look forward to continuing our partnership with government as this important work progresses.”
Key Guideline themes are:
- Governance and Risk
- Due Diligence
- Communication and Education
- Knowledge Sharing
- Cyber Security
Like other universities, RMIT will be looking at its risk frameworks, policies and processes in the context of these new Guidelines, as the University seeks to continuously assess and manage risks around foreign interference.