University-Government partnership on foreign interference

An equal partnership between the university sector and Government security agencies has delivered a new set of guidelines to enhance existing safeguards against foreign interference.

Universities Australia Chair Professor Deborah Terry AO said the nation’s university leaders had demonstrated a strong commitment to this work.

“This has genuinely been an equal partnership between universities and Government,” she said.

“Our shared aim has been to build on existing protections against foreign interference, without damaging the openness and global engagement essential to Australia’s strengths and values.”

“The global collaboration of our universities is a powerful national asset – putting us at the forefront of research breakthroughs and knowledge advances that deliver benefits to Australia.”

“It is in Australia’s interests to safeguard that openness as we navigate in an ever more complex world.”

Professor Terry said the intention was not to create an onerous new set of rules or reporting requirements, but rather to continue to build on prudent risk management practice.

The key aim was to deepen the level of advice and cooperation between universities and agencies in a shared responsibility to understand and manage risk.

“The intent is not to add to the regulatory or compliance burden for universities – but to enhance resources and intelligence to further safeguard our people, research and technology.”

“University autonomy remains a foundational principle of Australia’s university system, and this partnership approach respects this central tenet of universities whilst managing risk.”

As a member of the ongoing taskforce, Universities Australia will continue to support the university sector to share practical resources, knowledge and advice.

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