From the President
  • National Student Safety Survey Release
  • Melbourne Forum update
  • ATO GST tool update
  • Online Events incl. Mandating Vaccinations, College Governance, Circle Based Restorative Practices & Nurture: Confronting a Crisis
Dear Colleagues,

The impact of lockdowns on all our members and their college communities has been a focus of recent online events.  Whilst different approaches are taken by colleges & halls depending on their size, layout and cohort numbers, Members have benefitted from sharing their experience and college communications.  The Executive Committee will continue to assist in these matters and I hope you may join us at a future event.

I also draw attention to the National Student Safety Survey, to be released 6 September, and provide updated information on the Melbourne Forum and progress in relation to the ATO and the GST tool.

As always, please contact me or a Member of our Committee should you require assistance.

With best wishes to you all,

Wayne Erickson
UCA President

National Student Safety Survey
UCA appreciates our ongoing relationship with Dr Renee Hamilton, Policy Director - Safety & Wellbeing, Universities Australia, and for her online address to UCA Members on 10 August.  With the imminent release of the Survey, she asks that we provide her message and UA documentation as follows:

"Hi everyone,

Thanks for your time earlier this week to talk about the National Student Safety Survey. It was great to see you all virtually.

The survey will deploy on Monday 6 September and be in field until Sunday 3 October. At the same time the survey is in the field, the SRC will run a qualitative research project – open to current and former students (enrolled in the last five years) – inviting students to share their stories.

As I mentioned, students that participate in the survey will have support numbers on screen at all times throughout the survey. See the attached pdf that includes all the numbers provided by our universities.

Thirty-four universities have opted in for the accommodation module – the five universities that have chosen not to opt in for the accommodation module are Bond, Murdoch, Notre Dame, UTS and VU (thanks to the amazing team at the SRC they got UWA in at the 11th hour). For those of you that service those five universities, I think you will need to have a chat with the relevant VC on what they intend to say publicly about why this option wasn't taken up.

Universities that have opted in will receive a separate, standalone report from the SRC. Where sample sizes aren't big enough to make reliable conclusions, the SRC will not publish the data. I will have a chat with the SRC about their expectations on what the standalone report would look like, so you are well prepared.

At UA's Plenary meeting, we are seeking agreement from all Vice-Chancellors to simultaneously release their individual university reports, and their accommodation report, at the same time UA releases all the national reports. We are anticipating releasing results sometime in March 2022 (exact date TBC).

A few weeks ago we sent out this toolkit to universities to help them prepare for the survey. This toolkit includes checklists, key messages, and information on sampling and deployment. Please note that information in this toolkit is confidential, so not for wider circulation. You will also find all the promotional material for the survey – social media assets, zoom backgrounds etc etc. Feel free to use it all!"

Melbourne Forum update
As lockdowns and border closures persist in much of Australia, we have as yet no idea what social distancing measures will be in place at the time of our Forum scheduled for 22-24 November.  We have received many valuable contributions from members and associates and we are keen to provide an opportunity to share these.  We are now faced with the challenge of how we can best  deliver these contributions to you.

We are presently formulating a possible online format for the Forum in case face-to-face interaction is not possible. The timing will be designed to embrace contributors from New Zealand and Western Australia.

More information about a suitable socially distanced Forum format will be available in the coming weeks.
ATO GST tool update
As previously outlined, I met with the ATO on 18 August, together with tax advisers and college representatives responsible for GST, as the next step in a consultative process to formulate the ATO's position in relation to new arrangements for GST compliance in the student accommodation sector.  The detailed survey responses submitted by our Members that use the GST tool were very important to this discussion.  A summary, as previously provided to all survey respondents, can be found here

Our colleagues (Rob Lancaster, Elsa Geringer, David Warren, Mark Mann, Martin Booth, Martyn Lyons) reinforced a strongly uniform message from all the non-ATO personnel about why the ATO’s new arrangements need to be clear and simple. Peter McDonald provided an important and detailed historical perspective, which reinforced the ongoing concerns of residential colleges and halls to ensure that any new arrangements must deal properly with the very great differences between colleges and the commercial providers. Our survey established a much broader base of consultation, with results reinforcing the message, and some selected quotes from the detailed survey document amplifying where I thought it necessary to do so.
Next steps – The ATO will bring the meeting’s input to an articulation which defines the problem and will formalise a working group that will generate ideas about possible solutions; ideas that are tangible, tested and evaluated by the consultative process.
Some concluding comments from the ATO lead –
  • ATO will not leave those who rely on the tool “in the lurch” – transitional arrangements will be put together and put in place.
  • ATO is not going to “throw away” what has been working well.
  • Message from all participants (including some of the consultant valuers, who offered comments that were “friendly” to the colleges’ perspective) was heard “loud and clear” by ATO.
  • ATO acknowledges that a lot of work went in to building the tool, but it’s now outdated beyond repair.
I look forward to providing more information in the coming weeks.
Online Events Calendar Dates:
  • Mandating Vaccinations - 14 September at 10:30am (AEST) A recent online event raised the issue of mandatory vaccinations and I draw your attention to an upcoming webinar provided by AON, our Association insurers.  All are welcome to attend and find the invitation here or contact Executive Officer
  • Conversations with Colleagues - 28 September at 2:00pm (AEST) - An informal conversation hour for College Heads to be facilitated by Joanna Rosewell, UCA Vice-President and Head of Jane Franklin Hall, UTas.
  • College Governance & Working with your Council - 12 October at 2:00pm (AEST) Rose Alwyn, UCA Secretary and Warden, St John's College, UQ, will facilitate discussion with an invited Guest Speaker.
  • Circle Based Restorative Practices - 26 October at 2:00pm (AEST) Dr Nerilee Flint, Head of Fenner Hall, ANU.
Please contact the Executive Officer to register you interest for all or any of these events.
An Invitation to New College Lectures - 5-7 October at 7:30pm (DST)
Nurture: Confronting a Crisis, a series of three lectures presented by New College at the University of New South Wales.  You are welcome to attend online or in person.  Find further information and registration details at
UCA Mission and Pillars of Purpose

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