Application for declaration of the Austudy Payroll Deduction Service
The Australian Union of Students applied on 24 April 1996 for declaration of the ‘Austudy Payroll Deduction Service’. Austudy is a form of financial assistance provided by the Commonwealth Government to approved students and Austudy payments were provided by a computer network of the then Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA). The Union of Students sought declaration of this service in order to have DEETYA establish a system of payroll deductions to enable the membership fees to the Union of Students to be deducted directly from students’ Austudy payments and remitted automatically to the Union. At the time of the application, no such payroll deduction service was provided by DEETYA.
The Council adopted an expedited process to considering this matter, consulting directly with both the applicant and DEETYA before making its recommendation not to declare to the Commonwealth Treasurer. In making this recommendation, the Council:
- was not satisfied that it would be uneconomical for anyone to develop another facility to provide the service (criterion (b))
- was not satisfied that the DEETYA computer facility was of national significance (criterion (c)), and
- considered that providing access to the service would be contrary to the public interest (criterion (f)).
The Treasurer accepted the Council’s recommendation and reasoning. Accordingly, on 14 August 1996, the Treasurer announced that the service was not declared.
The application, recommendation and the Minister’s decision are available below.
On 30 August 1996, the Union of Students lodged an appeal with the Australian Competition Tribunal seeking review of the Treasurer’s decision not to declare. On 28 July 1997, the Tribunal affirmed the Treasurer’s decision not to declare the service broadly on the basis that the facility was not of national significance and access to the Austudy Payroll Deduction Service would be contrary to the public interest.
Decisions of the Competition Tribunal can be accessed at www.austlii.edu.au.