Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023

Posted in Statements on 29 November 2023

The Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities welcomes the Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023 tabled in parliament this week.

This follows Minister for Education Jason Clare’s agreement, or in principle agreement, to implement all 10 recommendations made as part of the Australian Research Council Review conducted this year.

The Bill amends the Australian Research Council Act 2001 to establish an ARC Board as the accountable authority of the ARC which will appoint the ARC’s Chief Executive Officer.

Importantly, the Board will approve research grants under the National Competitive Grants Program with rules to be set by the Minister and this legislation can only be reformed under an act of parliament.

Ministerial intervention has had a damaging impact on the Australian research sector both here and on the world stage and DASSH congratulates the Minister on his decision to adopt these reforms.

DASSH made strong representations to the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment in 2022 around the damaging effect of Ministerial vetoes of ARC Discovery Grants in 2021 which disproportionately impacted the humanities.

This followed on from a string of previous Ministerial vetoes which also targeted research projects within the humanities.

We congratulate the Minister on this step which will build on change already underway at the ARC which has improved processes, transparency and outcomes for DASSH members.