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Universities partnering with government is key to minimising risks of foreign influence

28 March 2024

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) believes proposals contained in a report released by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security reviewing Australia’s Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme will improve transparency and reduce compliance burdens.  

ATN Universities have long recognised both the value of global engagement as well as the sophisticated – and increasing – risks of foreign influence and interference. Opportunities and risks must be appropriately balanced to maintain Australia’s global reputation and a commitment to intellectual inquiry, while safeguarding our national security.  

ATN Interim Executive Director, Frank Coletta, said it was pleasing to see the report acknowledge the potential for overlap and confusion between Australia’s various schemes to address foreign influence and interference.   

“We welcome the Joint Committee’s proposals for reform of the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme. In particular, we support the recommendation for universities and government to work together on how best to capture higher education activities across multiple frameworks. This would ensure relevant activities are targeted effectively while minimising the burden on universities and reducing the risks of duplication,” he said.  

ATN Universities looks forward to continued collaboration with government to ensure Australia’s foreign influence and interference frameworks remain fit-for-purpose.  

Media Contact (not for publication) 

Sophie Griffin (Manager, Media and Communications) m: 0481 117 294 e: sophie.griffin@atn.edu.au