From POERUP - Policies for OER Uptake
Jump to: navigation, search

by Ming Nie, based on early work by Paul Bacsich and James Kay, with 2014 updates by Gabi Witthaus, Giles Pepler and Paul Bacsich

For a partial update (June 2015) on OER licensing and MOOCs see Open Education Australia by Robin Wright

For entities in Australia see Category:Australia


Australia is a country occupying a whole continent in the southern hemisphere with neighbouring countries including Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east.

Australia is comprised of six states, plus two major mainland territories and several minor territories including islands. The states are New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, South Australia (SA), Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia (WA). The two major mainland territories are the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Australia's capital city is Canberra, located in the ACT which is between NSW and Victoria.

Australia is a constitutional democracy based on a federal division of power – that is the states have control over some portfolio matters. The form of government in Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the country and is represented by the Governor-General at federal level and by the Governors at state level.

There are three levels of Australian government: Australian (Federal), state and territory and local.

Australia has a population of over 21,000,000 according to the CIA Factbookwith the largest population concentrated around the mainland cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Australia is a multicultural country with its residents coming from every part of the world. Australia is a federation of states/territories and so contains similar political and organisational challenges to many regions which are federations of states/territories or countries. It could be argued that the relevance of Australia is mainly to the larger nations of the European Union, yet since it has a states structure as well the relevance is wider, in fact to all nations large and small. It should also be noticed that most Australians now see themseleves as being in the Asia-Pacific region. This regional relationship is very important now in Australia.

For further general information see Wikipedia:Australia.

OER in Australia: Map

Total number of Open Education Initiatives in Australia on Tuesday, 2 June 2020 at 12:12 = 10 , of which:

  • 8 are MOOC
  • 2 are OER

Initiatives per million = 0.48

Loading map...

Education in Australia


Generally, education in Australia follows the three-tier model which includes primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary/high schools) and tertiary education (universities and/or TAFE - Technical and Further Education).

Education is compulsory up to an age specified by legislation. This age varies from state to state but is generally 15-17, that is prior to completing secondary education. Post-compulsory education is regulated within the Australian Qualifications Framework - a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training (TAFE) and the higher education sector (universities).

Curriculum and assessment is underpinned by the National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-first Century which focuses on the learning outcomes for students and provides a framework for national reporting on student achievement. The National Goals for Schooling have been agreed by all education ministers.

The academic year in Australia varies between states and institutions, but generally runs from late January until mid-December for primary and secondary schools and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities.

Education in Australia is primarily the responsibility of states and territories. Each state and territory has its own education department and agencies which are responsible for publicly-funded education. The states and territories are responsible for:

  • Organisation, funding and delivery of school education
  • Non-government schools registration, inspection and supplementary funding
  • Determining its own policies and practices on organisation of schooling, curriculum, course accreditation, student assessment and certification.

The administration and financing of education in Australia is shared between the Australian Government and the Australian states and territories. The nature of the arrangements depends on the educational sector and legislative responsibilities. Generally, the Australian Government provides funding and co-ordination. Consultation between the Australian Government and the states and territories takes places through the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA). Support is provided through:

  • General recurrent, capital and targeted programs
  • Policy development
  • Research and analysis of nationally significant education issues.

The Australian Government’s education policy ( focuses on:

  • Improving learning outcomes
  • Implementing a national school curriculum
  • Increasing school retention rates
  • Providing more funding for education and research.

A key priority of the current Australian Government is to provide a national consistent school system. That is agree on a common starting age, common national testing in key subject areas, consistency in curriculum outcomes, and a common information system for the transfer of student data when students move interstate.

For a general description of education in Australia see Education:Australia.

Education in Australia

Schools in Australia

School is compulsory in Australia between the ages of 6 and 15, depending on the state and date of birth, with in recent years, over three quarters of students staying on until they are 18. There are three levels of school education: primary, secondary and senior secondary.

Pre-schools and primary schools

Primary school is from year 1 to year 6 or 7, with the emphasis being on developing English language and literacy skills, numeracy and basic mathematics as well as health and creative activities. There are no formal examination requirements and students progress to secondary education on the recommendation of the teacher in consultation with the parents, at the completion of primary schooling.

Pre-school in Australia is relatively unregulated, and is not compulsory. The first exposure many Australian children have to learn with others outside of traditional parenting is day care or a local government run playgroup. This type of activity is not generally considered schooling. Pre-school education is separate from primary school in all states and territories except Western Australia and Queensland, where pre-school education is taught as part of the primary school system.

Pre-schools are usually run by local councils, community groups or private organizations except for the Northern Territory and Queensland where they are run by the Territory and State Governments respectively. Pre-school is offered to 3- to 5-year-olds, although attendance numbers vary widely (from 50% in New South Wales to 93% in Victoria). The year before a child is due to attend primary school is the main year for pre-school education. This year is far more commonly attended, and usually takes the form of a few hours of activity five days a week.

Secondary, senior secondary/high schools and colleges

Secondary education is from year 7 or 8 to year 10. Core subjects are taught for the first two years and a selection of electives are introduced thereafter.

Senior secondary covers year 11 and 12 and a range of programs are offered aimed at preparing students for future study and work life. The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education is awarded to students who have successfully completed year 12.

However, the years for both secondary and senior secondary schools in Australia do in fact vary from state to state. In territories such as Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, the term high school is used to refer from years 7-10 while it is substituted by the term college from years 11-12. Following reforms of the Labor Government in the late 1980's and the early 1990's, the term secondary college has largely replaced the term high school in the territory of Victoria. Some schools in Victoria such as Melbourne High School have retained the term high school. Others have dropped the word 'secondary' and are simply referred to as 'colleges'.

In New South Wales, the last year of high school, year 12, is known as the Higher School Certificate (HSC) while years 11 and 12 in Victoria are known as the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). There are various other similar names in other states.

The first examination mark for a student in New South Wales and a combination of examination marks and coursework in other states, excluding Queensland, are indexed into the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). This index is usually the sole factor considered when applying for university courses. The ATAR was only introduced in 2009 in New South Wales, and previously each state calculated its own final high school rank, such as the Universities Admission Index (UAI) in New South Wales and Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank (ENTER) in Victoria.

Victorian students also have an opportunity to complete a high school qualification under the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning which gives students practical experience in a trade or workplace. This qualification generally leads students into a trade.

Generally, lower secondary education (Years 8 – 10) maintains continuity of learning in the learning areas and enables students to concentrate on the development of knowledge and skills in accordance with their personal learning goals and needs. Students are provided with opportunities to participate in enquiry-based learning, innovative thinking, problem solving and decision making.

Senior secondary education (Years 11 and 12) provides students with a wide range of programs to ensure they are well placed to qualify for secondary graduation and to gain University or TAFE entrance or employment. The students undertake the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) and have the opportunity to pursue subjects of their choice in greater depth.

Teachers design educational programs to suit the learning needs of their students. Educational standards are maintained with state and nation wide testing.

The school year consists of two semesters divided into two terms each. The school day commences at approximately 9.00am and concludes between 3.00 and 3.30 pm.

Types of schools

Schools in Australia can be classified according to sources of funding and administrative structures. There are three such categories in Australia: Public Schools (also known as Government schools or State schools), Independent Schools (informally known as private schools) and Catholic schools.

Government schools educate about two thirds of Australian students, with the other third in independent schools, a proportion which is rising in many parts of Australia. Government schools are free, while independent schools, both religious and secular, charge fees. Regardless of whether a school is government or independent, they are required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks. Most school students in government or independent schools usually wear uniforms, although there are varying expectations and some Australian schools do not require uniforms.

Government (or state) schools: Government or state schools are run by the local state or territory government. They do not charge compulsory fees, with the majority of their costs being met by the relevant government, and the rest by voluntary levies and fund raising activities. Government schools welcome students from other countries. They strive to ensure their learning experiences are both stimulating and educationally rewarding and the students enjoy their life in a different cultural environment.

Government schools are of two types: open and selective.

  • Open schools accept all students from their government defined catchment areas.
  • Selective government schools mostly cater for academically gifted students (the top 5%), although there are performing arts and sports schools. Selective schools are more prestigious than open government schools, and generally achieve better results in the school-leaving exams than independent or open government schools. Entry to selective schools is often highly competitive these schools cater to a large geographical area. Almost all selective schools are in New South Wales (, though a few exist in other areas. For example Victoria has two selective entry high schools for students in year 9 -12.

Catholic schools: Most Catholic schools are either run by their local parish and/or by each state's Catholic Education Commission.

Independent schools: Independent schools enroll about 14% of students. These include schools operated by religious groups and secular educational philosophies such as Montessori. All independent schools charge tuition fees. Government funding for independent schools often comes under criticism from the Australian Education Union and the general public.

Independent/private schools have better infrastructures, facilities, higher paid teachers, prestige and social status as well as a better educational environment. They focus on extra-curricular activities such games and sports, other activities alongside better education. Private schools are considered a very important part of the Australian school system because of their quality. They get funded by the government and students still have to pay a very high tuition, making them more expensive than the government schools.

Some of the best private schools in Australia include Anglican Grammar School, Canberra Grammar School, Saint Hilda’s School, etc. Other good private schools are mostly found in major cities such as Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Usually, there is tough competition enrolling in private schools and both parents and students have to meet specific eligibility requirements before applying, which normally vary from school to school and from class to class. Besides educational requirements, the students may also have to appear for a written test.

Amongst other subjects, main courses offered in Australian private schools include English, the language other than English, Math, Science, Art, Social & Environmental Studies, Technology, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education. Some private schools at the senior secondary level offer specialization in particular areas.

For a list of all the private schools in Australia, visit

The Country Areas Program (CAP) provides targeted government funding to non-government education authorities in each state and the Northern Territory to help their primary and secondary schools to improve geographically isolated student learning outcomes.

For a list of all schools in Australia including their location and websites, visit

Tertiary or higher education in Australia

Tertiary or higher education in Australia is made up of universities and non-university higher education institutions (higher education providers).

In 2007, the Australian higher education system consisted of:

  • 39 universities, of which 37 are public institutions and two are private
  • One Australian branch of an overseas university
  • Four other self-accrediting higher education institutions, and
  • 150 non-self-accrediting higher education providers accredited by state and territory authorities.


For a list of all universities in Australia including their location and websites, visit

Both private and public universities can be found in Australia. As of 2006, there are 36 public, two Catholic and one Non-profit Private universities in Australia.

For a list of university rankings in Australia by different agencies, organisations and international bodies, visit

Universities Australia is the industry peak body representing the university sector. Currently, 38 universities are members of Universities Australia.

Most Australian universities developed substantial capability in distance learning in the 1980s and a significant number have now embraced e-learning. Perhaps the best known is the University of Southern Queensland.

There is a service provider called NextEd who operates globally and in particular supported the Global University Alliance (GUA).

Higher education providers

Higher education providers have to be approved by the Australian Government Minister for Education in order to be eligible for government grants or for their students to be eligible to receive assistance from the Australian Government under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA). Providers are subject to quality and accountability requirements. Australia has approximately 150 higher education providers approved to offer particular higher education courses. These include several that are registered in more than one state and territory. They form a very diverse group of specialised, mainly private providers that range in size and include theological colleges and other providers that offer courses in areas such as business, information technology, natural therapies, hospitality, health, law and accounting.

Administration and finance in higher education

The Australian Government has significant financial and policy responsibility for higher education, while state and territory governments retain major legislative responsibility. At the national level higher education policies and programs are administered by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). The provision of government funding is outlined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

Australian Government funding support for higher education is provided largely through:

  • The Commonwealth Grant Scheme which provides for a specified number of Commonwealth Supported places each year
  • The Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) arrangements providing financial assistance to students
  • The Commonwealth Scholarships
  • A range of grants for specific purposes including quality, learning and teaching, research and research training programmes.

The Australian Government also provides substantial funding to the higher education sector in support of research through various grants and programs:

  • Institutional Grants Scheme
  • Research Infrastructure Block Grants
  • Australian Postgraduate Awards
  • Research projects administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC)
  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Decision-making, regulation and governance for higher education are shared among the Australian Government, the State and Territory Governments and the individual institutions. Some aspects of higher education are the responsibility of States and Territories. In particular, most universities are established or recognised under State and Territory legislation. States and Territories are also responsible for accrediting non-self-accrediting higher education providers.

By definition within Australia, universities are self-accrediting institutions and each university has its own established legislation (generally State and Territory legislation). As self-accrediting institutions, Australia’s universities have a reasonably high level of autonomy to operate within the legislative requirements associated with their Australian Government funding.

The Australian Catholic University is established under corporations law. It has establishment Acts in New South Wales and Victoria. Many private providers are also established under corporations law.

Australian students can undertake higher education studies at an approved institution as either a Commonwealth support student or a fee-paying student. Commonwealth support places (formerly known as HECS) are made possible through the financial contribution to higher education providers by the Australian Government. For more information on Commonwealth support places see:

Higher education reforms

The Bologna Process

The Bologna Process represents a commitment by forty-five European countries to undertake a series of reforms in order to achieve greater consistency and portability across their higher education systems.

The Bologna process is likely to have a profound effect on the development of higher education globally. Australian education observers (as well as observers from other continents) are taking a close interest in the reform process and beginning to consider how their own system can be more closely aligned with ‘Bologna’ thinking.

A discussion paper ( developed in 2006, by the Department of Education, Science and Training, aimed to initiate discussion on the significance of Bologna for Australia and possible Australian responses. The Department of Education Science and Training’s initial assessment is that Australian higher education has much to gain by aligning with the key Bologna actions. Potential benefits identified are of two types:

  • Facilitation of interaction and recognition
  • Benefits to Australian students and employers (with the use of "The Diploma Supplement" and the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System - ECTS)

The discussion paper also states that the institution choosing to maintain positions of Bologna ‘incompatibility’ take a risk. At a minimum, compatibility would entail:

  • A three cycle (Bachelor, Masters, Doctorate) degree structure
  • Promotion of the Diploma Supplement
  • A credit accumulation/transfer system compatible with the ECTS
  • The existence of an accreditation/quality assurance framework meeting Bologna criteria.

There are some areas in which efforts would be required to achieve Bologna compatibility, for example repositioning of Australian Honours degrees, four-year and graduate entry Bachelor degrees and one-year Masters courses, to ensure alignment with Bologna structures and emerging trends.

  • The Diploma Supplement has been trialled in Australia, but institutions will need to make decisions about adoption.
  • The Australian quality assurance system generally fits within the broad guidelines established by the Bologna Process, but a documented audit of compatibility may be useful as a tool for marketing and dealing with future recognition issues in Europe. There is a question of whether the Australian Universities Quality Agency, now transferred to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency - TEQSA should seek admission to the proposed, but yet to be developed, European Register of Quality Assurance Agencies, should its eventual guidelines be framed to include external countries.
  • Australia has the Equivalent Full Time Student Unit - EFTSU, a system which provides a common measure of student workload applying across Australian universities. It may be possible to adapt this system so that it connects more effectively with the ECTS.

There are some challenges posed by the Bologna reforms in relation to existing qualifications that Australian higher education institutions need to consider. A key issue is the position of Australian graduate entry and four-year bachelor level qualifications. It is likely that the European pathway for professional accreditation, in a range of professions, will become a bachelor degree followed by a two-year masters degree. The level of acceptance of graduate entry or four-year bachelor degrees is as yet unclear.

The recognition of Australian one-year masters courses will also need to be monitored because whilst there is scope for a one-year masters within the Bologna structure, it is likely that the two-year masters will become the norm in most countries. The one-year masters may become a course offered only to international students in Europe and questions may arise about the professional recognition, comparability and quality of such courses within Europe.

The use of Australian honours degrees as direct entry points to doctoral studies may also be problematic in Europe, since the pathway to doctoral studies within the Bologna Process will be through a masters qualification (3+2).

Higher education review in 2002

In 2002, the Commonwealth Government conducted a review of Australia’s higher education system. The Government’s response to the review was announced on 13 May 2003 as part of the 2003/2004 Budget process. Announced by the previous Government in 2003, the Our Universities: Backing Australia’s Future package provided an additional $11 billion in funding over 10 years to enable higher education providers to deliver world-class higher education.

The Commonwealth Grant Scheme and Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) arose from these reforms. The reforms were structured around four key policy principles:

  • Sustainability – improved governance, appropriate resourcing and greater pricing flexibility for universities
  • Quality – incentives to improve performance and greater accountability
  • Equity – increased number of student places, greater availability of income-contingent loans, increase in the repayment threshold and incentives to improve participation and outcomes for disadvantaged groups
  • Diversity – incentive and performance-based funding for teaching and research, support for restructuring and collaboration and additional funding for regional institutions.

The reforms focused on establishing a partially deregulated system of higher education, in which individual universities are enabled to capitalise on their particular strengths and determine the value of their course offerings in a competitive environment. There is renewed emphasis on learning and teaching outcomes, greater recognition of the role of regional campuses and institutions, and a framework for research in which all Commonwealth funding is either competitive or performance-based. New arrangements for student financing promote lifelong learning, and ensure equity of access to higher education - no eligible student will be required to pay up-front fees when enrolling at an eligible higher education institution. Greater access for disadvantaged groups is supported, and the market for private higher education is opened up, while still maintaining quality control. Diversity will be encouraged through the creation of performance-based incentives for institutions to differentiate their missions.

Reforms to the State’s skills and workforce development system

South Australia’s Workforce Development Strategy, which was released in 2005, articulated the State Government’s vision for the future workforce as: South Australia has an efficient, highly skilled workforce that supports a globally competitive economy and a socially inclusive community. The three priority areas within the strategy are: a high skill economy, quality employment and better workforce planning. This approach represents an innovative way of integrating workforce planning, employment participation and demand considerations, and was the first such strategy in Australia. These three priorities continue to underpin the South Australian Government’s ongoing skills reform agenda. The workforce development approach which has been adopted in South Australia responds to the State’s dual social and economic priorities which are articulated in South Australia’s Strategic Plan.

Higher education review in 2008

In March 2008, the Government initiated a review of Higher Education to examine the future direction of the higher education sector, its fitness for purpose in meeting the needs of the Australian community and economy, and the options for ongoing reform. The Australian Government Review of Australian Higher Education was undertaken by an independent expert panel, led by Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC.

An initial response to the review by the government indicates the following priorities:

  • A student-centred, demand driven, higher education system:
  • Future structural reforms which focus on a student-centred, demand driven system
  • From 2012 universities will be funded on the basis of student demand
  • The Government will establish a national regulatory and quality agency for higher education.
  • Tertiary education pathways for the future:
  • Work with the states and territories to develop strong and cohesive national regulatory arrangements for VET alongside the proposed higher education regulator
  • Commission the Australian Qualifications Framework Council to improve articulation and connectivity between the university and VET sectors
  • Form a single tertiary education sector ministerial council, with representatives from the Commonwealth, states and territories.
  • Enhanced equity in tertiary education, with a focus on improving accessibility:
  • By 2020, 20% of higher education enrollments at undergraduate level should be from low socio-economic backgrounds
  • Work closely with the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC) to improve higher education access and outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
  • Reform for Australian innovation and research - a new approach to research funding and measures to strengthen the contribution universities make to the national innovation system.

Vocational education and training in Australia

The Australian Government takes a strategic leadership role in vocational education and training (VET) by working collaboratively with states and territories and industry as part of its responsibility to ensure national prosperity and economic development.

The Australian Government contributes about one-third of government funding for VET, with the other two-thirds coming from state and territory governments.

Under the 2005-2008 funding agreement, the Australian Government committed to providing almost $5 billion to states and territories to support their training systems. The Australian Government also directly funds a number of programs to support the VET system. These include:

  • Australian Apprenticeships (including support for employers and new apprentices)
  • Australian Technical Colleges
  • Workplace English Language and Literacy Program (provides existing workers with English language, literacy and numeracy skills.

State and territory governments have constitutional responsibility for the management and administration of VET within their jurisdictions. They are responsible for state-level planning, regulation of training providers, allocation of funds to public and private training providers, setting student fees and charges and managing Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes.

The main providers of VET in Australia are the various state-administered institutes of TAFE. TAFE institutions generally offer courses based on the Australian Qualifications Framework - AQF that is Certificates I, II, III, and IV, Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas in a wide range of vocational areas. They also offer some higher education courses, especially in Victoria.

In addition to TAFE institutions, there are many Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) which are operated privately. In Victoria alone there are approximately 1100 RTOs. They include:

  • Commercial training providers
  • The training department of manufacturing or service enterprises
  • The training function of employer or employee organisations in a particular industry
  • Group Training Companies
  • Community learning centres and neighbourhood houses
  • Secondary schools/colleges providing VET programs.

These RTOs vary from single-person operations delivering training and assessment in a narrow specialisation, to large organisations offering a wide range of programs. Many RTOs receive government funding to deliver programs to apprentices or trainees, to disadvantaged groups, or in government identified priority areas.

All course providers are required to comply with the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) and compliance is monitored by regular internal and external audits. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) was established in 1995. The framework links qualifications from school, vocational education and training and higher education sectors. The AQF recognises prior learning or current competence, and makes credit transfer and flexible learning pathways easier.

VET programs delivered by TAFE institutions and private RTOs are based on nationally registered qualifications, derived from either endorsed sets of competency standards known as Training Packages, or from courses accredited by state/territory government authorities. These qualifications are regularly reviewed and updated. In specialised areas where no formal qualifications exist, RTOs may develop their own course and obtain endorsement for it as an accredited privately owned program which is then subjected to the same rules as the publicly owned programs.AQF VET qualifications are outcomes based, and focus on the skills and competencies gained rather than on the length or type of course studied.

All trainers and assessors delivering VET programs are required to hold a qualification known as the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA40104) or demonstrate equivalent competency. Additionally, they are also required to have relevant vocational competencies, at least to the level being delivered or assessed.

In addition to the contribution from the Australian Government and state and territory governments, industry representatives and employers play a key role in determining training policies and priorities, and in developing training qualifications that can deliver the skills employers need for the workforce. Employer contributions to training in Australia include:

  • Training provision for employees (in the form of payment for courses)
  • Paid time off
  • Training materials, travel and subsidies


The Australian Information and Communications Technology in Education Committee (AICTEC) is a national, cross-sector committee responsible for providing advice to all Australian Ministers of Education and Training on the economic and effective utilisation of information and communications technologies in Australian education and training and on implementation of the Digital Education Revolution.

The Digital Education Revolution - a major part of the Australian Government's Education Revolution, is a vital step in creating a world-class education system for Australia. The aim of the program is to contribute sustainable and meaningful change to teaching and learning in Australian schools that will prepare students for further education, training and to live and work in a digital world.

A Joint Ministerial Statement on Information and Communications Technologies in Australian Education and Training 2008-2011 was endorsed by MCEETYA and the Ministerial Council for Vocational and Technical Education (MCVTE) in June 2008.

Australian Flexible Learning Framework

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework provides the vocational education and training (VET) system with the essential e-learning infrastructure and expertise needed to respond to the challenges of a modern economy and the training needs of Australian businesses and workers.

The Framework was launched as a strategy in 2000, responding to information and communication technology (ICT) developments in workplaces and society. The Australian Government and all states and territories agreed to work together nationally to advance the use of e-learning in VET.

The first 2000-2004 Framework Strategy focused on raising awareness of the potential of e-learning, and starting to build capability. The second 2005-2007 Framework Strategy continued this work, and focused on engaging with key target groups. The 2008-2011 Framework Strategy maximised and built on the national investment to date in essential e-learning infrastructure. It focuses on embedding e-learning in registered training organisations (RTOs), business and industry. The 2008 Framework Business Plan provided the blueprint for the Framework in the first year of the new Strategy, detailing the Leadership and Innovation programs, and their related business activities. Together these strategies have created a considerable infrastructure and a sound foundation on which to establish e-learning as an integral part of the national training system.

In 2009 the Australian Flexible Learning Framework opened up more than $7 million in funding opportunities for registered training organisations (RTOs), business and industry to embed e-learning in the vocational education and training (VET) system.

Recent research showed that 36% of all VET activity in RTOs now formally involves e-learning, compared to just 3-4% in 2003-2004. Research also confirmed that 91% of students and 88% of teachers and trainers now use e-learning as part of their VET experience.

For information about e-learning initiatives and projects classified by states and territories, visit

Information society strategy

In Australia 14% of students (95,000) are doing distance education.

The Adelaide Declaration sets the National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-first Century.

On 5 December 2008, State, Territory and Commonwealth Ministers of Education and Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, released the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians which sets the direction for Australian schooling for the next 10 years.

Benchmarking e-learning

Australia is one of the few countries where time and effort has been committed to benchmarking e-learning. Other countries include UK and New Zealand. Interest in benchmarking in Australia can be attributed to:

For more ICT and virtual initiatives in schools, colleges and universities in Australia, see Re.ViCa/VISED wiki.

Quality procedures

Quality assurance in Australia’s higher education system is based on a strong partnership between the Commonwealth (federal), State and Territory Governments and the higher education sector.

The Australian Government’s role includes:

  • Protection of the term ‘university’
  • Legislative protection of overseas students studying in Australia
  • Performance management tools
  • Learning and Teaching Performance Fund
  • Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC)
  • Institution Assessment Framework (IAF), formerly Educational Profiles

Australia’s State and mainland Territory Governments are responsible for the legislation which protects the integrity of Australian universities and higher education awards in their jurisdiction. Their responsibilities include:

  • Specifying arrangements to establish and recognise universities, as well as protecting the use of the term "university"
  • Protecting higher education award titles and accrediting higher education courses to be offered by non-self-accrediting private providers
  • Approving the operation of overseas providers of higher education
  • Endorsing courses of study as suitable for overseas students.

These responsibilities are explained further in the National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes.

Australia’s universities are self-accrediting bodies established by or under Commonwealth, State or Territory legislation. They are responsible for maintaining the quality of their own academic standards. This quality is independently verified every five years by the Australian Universities Quality Agency, now transferred to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency - TEQSA.

There are 43 self-accrediting higher education institutions in Australia and 39 of these are universities. In addition to these institutions there are over 100 private education providers accredited by State and Territory Governments offering higher education courses.

Universities assure the quality of their offerings in a number of ways including external academic and industry input into courses and peer review of new and ongoing courses. Usually universities formally review their courses on a five-yearly basis. Additionally, universities regularly evaluate student feedback.

Universities also voluntarily comply with various codes of practice and guidelines set by Universities Australia to maintain and ensure the quality of their offerings.

For the OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment in Education for Australia, please visit

The Australian Qualification Framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework - AQF is a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training (TAFEs and private providers) and the higher education sector (mainly universities).

AQF lists universities and other self-accrediting higher education institutions.

AQF was established by the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) in 1995 to provide for nationally recognised pathways between awards offered in Australia’s vocational education and training and higher education sectors. It brings together the qualifications issued by different sectors into a single comprehensive system of titles and standards.

AQF also maintains a public register of MCEECDYA endorsed post compulsory education providers and accreditation authorities. The register is a key element of the Australian higher education quality assurance framework.

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is Australia’s regulatory and quality agency for higher education. TEQSA’s primary aim is to ensure that students receive a high quality education at any Australian higher education provider.

Internet in Australia

Government policy

Australia has a modern, deregulated communications infrastructure, with high levels of internet penetration, computer ownership and broadband access. The report onThe internet in Australia states that the vast majority of Australian households (86.0%) have internet access. Almost all these households with internet (96.3%) are broadband connections [2].

This situation is likely to improve further as a result of the National Broadband Network - NBN. The NBN initiative will involve the laying of fibre optic cabling to connect 93% of Australian homes, schools and businesses. The ICDE country profile for Australia states that NBN will provide broadband speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps). The remaining 7% of Australians will be connected by means of high speed wireless and satellite technologies delivering peak speeds of at least 12 Mbps or more.

The NBN is a national wholesale-only, open-access data network under development in Australia. The network is estimated to cost A$35.9 billion to construct over a 10-year period, including an Australian Government investment of A$27.5 billion. The build cost has been a key point of debate. NBN Co, a government-owned corporation, was established to design, build and operate the NBN. The construction began with a trial rollout in Tasmania with the first customers connected in July 2010. The mainland rollout began with five first-release sites with the first services connected in April 2011. The fibre to the premises (FTTP) rollout is planned to reach approximately 93% of the population by June 2021.

Construction of the fixed wireless network is planned to begin in 2011, delivering its first services in 2012 and to be completed by 2015. Two satellites will be launched by 2015 (

The NBN has been subject to political and industry debate for a number of years even before the construction actually commenced.

The report on The internet in Australia shows that there is still strong support for the NBN, with over two thirds of Australians considering the development of NBN a good idea, down from three quarters in 2009 [2].

Internet access and use

The information provided under this section is reproduced from the report - CCi Digital Futures 2012: The Internet in Australia (, produced by Ewing, S. & Thomas, J., ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology. The report is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia licence.

Internet access

The overwhelming majority of Australians are internet users, and uptake is still growing rapidly. In 2011, 86.8% of Australians used the internet, up from 80.6% in 2009 and 72.6% in 2007. Just under one in ten of the respondents had never used the internet (down from one in five in 2007). The proportion of ex-users had also fallen to 3.6% (5.9% in 2009 and 7.6% in 2007).

Broadband access

By international standards, Australia’s level of internet use is very high. The vast majority of household connections are now broadband (96%), while the proportion of Australians accessing the net through a mobile device more than doubled between 2009 and 2011, from 15% to 37%.

Internet use

  • Years of use: In 2011 half of all internet users have been online for ten years or more (46.0%). Only 4.2% of the sample in 2011 had been using the internet for two years or less.
  • Years that users have had broadband access: There is still broadband take-up but it is slowing. More than eight in ten broadband households in 2011 have had this service for more than two years.
  • Locations of use: Most internet use takes place at home and 2011 saw a large increase in home use with the users averaging fifteen hours per week from home (up 50% from 2009). Internet use at work remained steady at 7 hours (7 in 2009 and 5 in 2007). School, college or university access accounts for just over an hour on average amongst all users (at school or not).
  • Where in the house: While four in ten of those accessing the internet at home do so in a room designated as a study, its primacy as the location for internet access in the home is under threat. A third of internet use took place in the living room in 2011 (33.4%) while the kitchen increased in popularity, as did the bedroom.
  • Mobile access: The proportion of Australians accessing the internet through a mobile device more than doubled between 2009 and 2011, from 15.2% to 37.3%.

Attitudes to the internet

  • Importance of internet: 80% of respondents rated internet as ‘very important’ or ‘important’ in 2007. This increased to 83.6% in 2009 and to 90.7% in 2011.
  • The internet makes life easier: Overall people are very positive about the effect of the internet on their lives. Approaching half of the respondents strongly agreed that the internet makes life easier (46.1% in 2011 and 42.9% in 2009) while a further three in ten agreed with this contention (31.0% and 29.0%).
  • The internet is frustrating to work with: Half of Australians do not agree that the internet is frustrating to work with. A quarter do find it frustrating (24.8%), with 7.0% strongly agreeing that it is frustrating. There was almost no change for this question between 2009 and 2011.
  • There is too much immoral material on the internet: 38.6% of respondents in 2011 think that there is too much immoral material on the internet, compared to 41.4% in 2009.
  • The internet is a fast and efficient means to gain information: There was almost unanimous agreement that the internet is a fast and efficient means to gain information. There was little change over the period.
  • The use of the internet can be addictive: Three-quarters of the respondents agree that internet use can be addictive (74.8%) while one in ten disagree (9.9%). There was little change in responses to this question between 2009 and 2011.
  • Satisfaction with speed of home internet connection: Around one in five Australians are unhappy with the speed of their home internet connection (18.5%). At the other end of the scale one in five (21.7%) are very satisfied and a further four in ten are satisfied (39.2%). There was little change over the period.
  • Satisfaction with the reliability of home internet connection: Reliability does not appear to be an issue for the majority of Australians with an internet connection at home. Three in ten are very satisfied (29.7%) with a further 42.5% moderately satisfied. Around one in eight are dissatisfied (12.3%) and of these around a third are very dissatisfied (4.0%).
  • Home internet access affordability: In 2011 most Australians consider that their home internet access is affordable (62.2%). Just on one in eight households consider their access unaffordable, with one in twenty saying it is ‘very unaffordable’.

Internet regulation

The majority of Australians do not think that the internet is over-regulated. In both 2011 and 2009 surveys, just over four in ten thought that the current amount of regulation was about right. A quarter would like more regulation. There is very strong support for restricting children’s access to the internet. An overwhelming 84% felt there should be some restrictions, but almost all of these people felt that responsibility should be shared by parents, schools, government and internet service providers.

Australians also support freedom of expression online. In 2011 over a quarter of people (28%) were concerned about the government checking what they do online, up slightly from 2009 (26%).

Trends in Internet use

Australian internet use is growing in three dimensions. First, the number of internet users continues to grow. Second, users are doing more online. Third, the frequency of activity has also been increasing. These three elements help to explain the growth path of the internet overall. However, when looking at some specific internet applications, another pattern was found: rapid growth from 2007 to 2009, and then a levelling out from 2009 to 2011. Some activities — such as certain online social and entertainment applications — seem to be entering a mature phase.

  • The internet is a social technology: Most Australians see the internet as a technology that increases people’s contact with friends (68%) and family (62%). The proportion of people who felt that social contact had increased grew rapidly from the first survey in 2007 to the second in 2009 — a period coinciding with the emergence of social software. the most recent 2011 survey shows a levelling off, or in some cases a slight decline, in those reporting increased contact. The same pattern appears in people’s reported use of email, forums, and instant messaging: a sharp rise between 2007 and 2009, and then a slight decline in 2011. By contrast, the use of the internet to make phone calls is continuing to grow strongly, from 30% in 2009 to 39% in 2011.
  • The internet changes the way people access and use the media: The internet is Australians’ most important source of news and information and its importance has increased slightly in the last two years. Just over three quarters of users described the internet as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for news and information in 2011. Around 7 in 10 users would go online if a large international or local news story was breaking. A third of internet users say they watch less television since going online, and this impact is strongly related to age. The proportion of internet users who say they watch less broadcast television because they can download television programs has grown significantly, doubling between 2007 (10%) and 2011 (20%). The question of whether internet users are prepared to pay for journalism is topical, with many predictions of the demise of newspapers. As in the earlier surveys, a clear majority of Australians said they would not consider paying for an online newspaper (70% in 2011), and only 8% said they would be prepared to pay as much as the cover price of a hard copy newspaper.
  • The internet helps people share creative work, and encourages some to produce it: The proportion of internet users posting pictures or photographs increased dramatically from 25 to 46% from 2007 to 2009, and then grew more slowly to 51% in 2011. By contrast, the proportion of users posting videos online has continued to grow strongly, from only 5% in 2007 to 18% in 2011. Almost half (47%) felt that the internet enabled them to share creative work they liked with others. Just over a quarter (26%) of users said that the internet had encouraged them to produce and share their own creative work. This proportion has not changed significantly since the earlier surveys.
  • The internet is a major source of entertainment: In 2011, as in 2009, a higher proportion of users described the internet as a ‘very important’ source of entertainment than television. Some forms of popular online entertainment — such as downloading or listening to music online, and visiting sites dedicated to particular artists — recorded significant growth between 2007 and 2009, and then much slower growth from 2009 to 2011. Other very popular activities, including looking for information about restaurants, and finding out information about food such as recipes, steadily continue to grow. The proportion of users who usually buy music online doubled from 2007 to 2009 (7% to 16%), and then doubled again in 2011 to 30%. Some notable minority interests are also emerging: while fewer than one in twenty of our 2007 respondents used the internet to gamble, the figure in 2011 was one in ten.
  • Australians love shopping online: Australians are avid internet shoppers; among the comparison countries Australians are the most frequent online shoppers. Overall, price and the variety of goods available are equal drivers of online retail for Australian consumers. Consumers do recognise that there are limits to their ability to assess the quality of products online, and that returning goods can pose more difficulties online. They declare a strong preference for dealing with websites based in Australia, and they are concerned about the security of their financial and personal information when shopping online.
  • The internet changes politics: A majority of both internet users and non-users agreed that the internet has become important for the political campaign process in 2011 (62% and 52% respectively). In 2007 non-users were more sceptical than users about the internets’ capacity to empower citizens. These differences between users and non-users on this question have since decreased. Australians are sceptical about whether internet use can help people have a greater say in government policies.

Digital divide

Internet use still varies between different groups, although these differences are not as large as they were when the first report was released in 2007. Australia has now reached a point where there is almost universal broadband access in more affluent households, but a large proportion of low-income households are still without home broadband access. Students, employed persons, younger people, higher educated and higher income individuals continue to be more likely to use the internet than retired people, homemakers, older people, lower educated and lower income individuals.

  • Use by household income: Internet use is directly related to household income. The higher the income the more likely a person is to access the internet regularly. Almost all those living households earning $60,000 or more use the internet. For those living in households on less than $30,000 per annum, internet use has increased strongly over the period of analysis, a growth from 58.3% in 2009 to 67.2% in 2011. Almost four in ten households in the lowest income group do not have home broadband. Further, those low income households with access are more likely to describe the costs of connection as unaffordable. Households on lower incomes are not any more likely to be dissatisfied with the speed or reliability of their home connection, but they do appear to derive less benefit from their internet access. They are less likely to access government services or information online, less likely to see the internet as a fast and efficient means to access information, and more likely to see the internet as a frustrating technology.
  • Use by lifestage: The vast majority of the employed population (96.1%) and all students use the internet indicating that computer and internet skills have become essential for people’s professional lives. Around one in five homemakers and primary carers used the internet, while 90.2% of unemployed people use the internet. Retired people have the lowest user rate of 60.2% (up from 48.2% in 2011 and 37.9% in 2007).
  • Use by age: The likelihood that Australians use the internet on a regular basis decreases gradually with increasing age. All but one of the respondents aged 18 to 24 was on-line as were 97.7% of 25 to 34 years old, and still the great majority of Australians in their midthirties to end-forties (95.8%). Those aged 50 to 64 years had a usage rate of 84.4%. Less than six in ten of people aged 65 or more use the internet — although the proportion of internet users in this group has been growing rapidly (56.7% up from 40.0% in 2011 and 29.8% in 2007).
  • Use by gender: In 2011 there is an unexpected widening of the gender gap in terms of internet use. In 2009 the difference between men and women’s internet participation was minimal (81.7% for men and 79.5% for women). While both men and women’s participation increased in 2011, men’s increased more. Men’s participation was 89.1% compared to women’s 84.7%.
  • Use by education: Education level also influences internet usage although differences are diminishing. In 2011, 94.7% of those who had attended university were internet users. Seven out of ten respondents that finished high school and/or had undertaken vocational education were internet users.
  • Use by Location (Urban-Rural Divide): There is still a divide between city and country people in terms of internet use. The gap between those living in capital cities and non-capital cities was maintained in 2011 with 89.6% of those living in capital cities using the internet compared to 81.8% of those living outside capital cities.
  • Use by place of birth: Whether people are born in Australia or overseas has little effect on internet use. In both 2007 and 2009 Australians born overseas were slightly more likely to use the internet than those born in Australia but by 2011 this difference is negligible (88.0% to 86.5%).

Internet in education

Overall, policies, plans and strategies have been developed and implemented at federal, state/territory and local government levels to enable the widespread implementation of ICT in all sectors of education in Australia.

Digital Education Revolution

Digital Education Revolution (DER) is a major part of the Australian Government's education revolution. It is a vital step in creating a world-class education system for Australia. The aim of the program is to contribute sustainable and meaningful change to teaching and learning in Australian schools that will prepare students for further education, training and to live and work in a digital world.

In this context, the Australian Government is investing over $2.1 billion to support the effective integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in Australian schools in line with the Government’s broader education initiatives, including the Australian Curriculum.

The NBN will deliver high speed broadband connections to individual schools, homes and workplaces. The NBN will mean that Australian school students will have access to similar bandwidth capabilities at home and at school, anywhere and at any time.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is continuing to work closely with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and schools authorities to ensure that the bandwidth needs of schools are understood through the progressive NBN rollout process.

Students across Australia will soon be able to access innovative online education and training via the NBN, through the $27.2 million Australian Government pilot program. The pilot program will enable primary schools, high schools and universities across Australia to participate in 12 online education and training projects linked by the NBN.

The implementation of the DER is guided by the DER Strategic Plan.

The following sections will provide an overview of DER associated programs and initiatives.

The National Secondary School Computer Fund

The National Secondary School Computer Fund is the major funding element of the DER. The Fund is helping schools to provide new computers and other ICT equipment for students in Years 9 to 12, as well as providing the necessary infrastructure to support the installation and maintenance of additional ICT.

ICT Innovation Fund

The Government is investing over $16 million in the ICT Innovation Fund to fund four projects that will help teachers and school leaders to better use ICT in the classroom. These projects aim to increase teacher proficiency in the use of ICT in teaching and learning to, among other things, support the effective delivery of the new online Australian Curriculum, provide tools for ongoing professional development in ICT and give principals and school leaders the tools and skills to plan for the use of ICT in their schools.

Online Curriculum Resources and Digital Architecture

The Online Curriculum Resources and Digital Architecture initiative is contributing to the development of digital resources, tools and infrastructure that can support the implementation of the Australian Curriculum online and enable communication, collaboration and resource sharing across school, system and jurisdictional boundaries.

Online Curriculum Support package

A new $41.2 million package to support implementation of the Australian Curriculum was announced by the Government on 23 September 2011. The package has two components:

Broadband connectivity

Since May 2008, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has conducted an annual survey to establish and monitor the broadband connectivity of schools catering for students from Kindergarten to Year 12. In 2010, the Department also conducted the first survey to establish and monitor the broadband connectivity of TAFEs across Australia. The surveys gather data on:

  • Types of broadband enabling infrastructure used (and according to geographical regions)
  • Use of bandwidth
  • Carriage Service Providers.

This information will be used to support the broadband needs of education institutions in NBN implementation planning.

The result of these surveys has been published here

School connectivity

The report on School broadband connectivity survey 2010 shows that the majority of schools in metropolitan and provincial regions are connected by fibre:

  • 72% of schools in metropolitan regions (compared to 50.3% in 2009 and 51.6% in 2008), and
  • 57.8% of schools in provincial regions (compared to 46.1% in 2009 and 46.5 % in 2008).

The 2010 survey shows that the bandwidth available to schools has improved over time. This is due to the increased in number of schools with fibre connections. 52.6% of schools have download speeds in the 5-20 mbps range compared to 29.7% in 2009 and 16.4% in 2008. A further 3.3% have greater than 20 mbps download speeds. These improvements are evident across all school sectors. There remains a variation in the bandwidth available to schools in metropolitan regions and those in provincial and remote regions. Schools in metropolitan regions generally receive higher bandwidth. For example, 33.9% of schools in metropolitan regions received 4 Mbps or less compared to 51.4% in provincial and 78.4% in remote regions.

For more detailed findings about school connectivity, visit the full report

TAFE connectivity

The report on DEEWR survey of TAFE broadband connectivity 2010 shows that:

  • 24.8% of TAFEs still have line speeds of less than 4 mbps
  • 53.5% have speeds of between 5 and 20 mbps
  • Around 8% have speeds of between 21-50 mbps
  • Around 4% have speeds of between 51-100 mbps
  • Around 8% have download line speeds of more than 100 mbps.

For more detailed findings about TAFE connectivity, see the full report at

Copyright law in Australia

Copyright law in Australia

The information provided under this section is reproduced from

In Australia copyright law is defined in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The Act is federal law and applies throughout Australia.

The following sections provide an overview of the Copyright Act. For further information about copyright law in Australia, see the Information Sheets produced by the Australian Copyright Council.

Copyright protection is automatic

Copyright is free and automatic upon creation of the work. In general, the first owner of copyright will be the author (for literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works) or producer (for sound recordings and films) or broadcaster (for broadcasts).

The copyright owner is entitled to place a copyright notice ©. It is also useful in publishing the date of first publication and the owner. Where a copyright notice is used, the onus in infringement proceedings is on the defendant to show that copyright does not subsist or is not owned by the person stated in the notice.

Types of work covered

In terms of the types of material, Australian law confers rights in works, also known as "Part III Works” namely:

  • literary works
  • musical works
  • artistic works, and
  • dramatic works.

It also confers rights in "other subject matter" (Part IV Subject Matter), which cover the kinds of material such as:

  • sound recordings
  • films, broadcasts, and
  • published editions.

To be protected, material must fall into one of these exclusive categories. The rights in Part IV subject matters are more limited, because infringement requires exact copying of the actual subject matter (sound-alikes or remakes are not covered).

Who owns copyright?

Under Australian law, where an employee is the author, the first owner of copyright is the employer. In 2004-2005, Australia also introduced some complicated provisions that give performers part ownership rights in sound recordings, and directors some limited ownership rights in relation to films.

For more detailed information about how the ownership rules have changed over time, see the Information Sheets: Who owns Copyright, and Assigning & licensing rights , produced by the Australian Copyright Council.

Rights of copyright owner

Copyright law in Australia gives copyright holders exclusive rights to do certain things with their material. Depending on the type of material, the copyright holder generally has the right to control:

  • publication
  • performance
  • communication to the public
  • adaptation of the material (for example, a translation or adaptation from a novel to a play)
  • reproduction.

If a person or institution wishes to use material under copyright in a way that can be controlled by the copyright holder (for example, making a copy), they will generally need to seek the permission of the copyright holder.

In some cases, copyright owners can also control who imports copies of their material into Australia. This can be the case even if the material was legitimately made overseas. See the Information Sheet: Importing copyright items, produced by the Australian Copyright Council for more information.

In 2000, moral rights were recognised in Australian copyright legislation. Only individuals may exercise moral rights. The moral rights provided under Australian law include:

  • A right of attribution: the right to be clearly and reasonably prominently identified as the author, in any reasonable form, and the right to avoid false attribution, where the work is falsely presented as being another's work.
  • Integrity of authorship: the right to not have the work treated in a derogatory manner (this is a right to protect the honour and reputation of the author)

Automatic resale rights (royalty payments to the author on subsequent resales of the original and reproductions) are not covered by Australian legislation.

From mid-2007, performers have also been granted moral rights in recordings of their performances, similar, but not identical, to the moral rights granted to authors. These were introduced as a result of Australia's ratification of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, which was required by the Australia's free trade agreement with Singapore, and the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement.

Infringement of copyright

Unless a special exception applies, people who use copyright material in any of the ways exclusively controlled by the copyright owner without permission infringes copyright. Using part of a work without permission may also infringe copyright if that part is an important part – the part does not need to be a large part. In this context, the issue is not whether you have changed or added something to the copyright material, but whether the part you have used is an important, essential or distinctive part of the original material.

For more information on copyright infringement, see the Information Sheets: Quotes & extracts, What can I do? and Infringement: actions, remedies, offences, penalties, produced by the Australian Copyright Council.

Duration of rights

Before the 2006 Amendments, Australia used a "plus 50" rule to determine when a work entered the public domain. The 2006 Amendments changed the benchmark to "plus 70". Material is protected by copyright for up to 70 years after the death of the creator. This brought Australia into line with the United States of America, the European Union and other regions.

Works that have been unpublished can remain in copyright in perpetuity. These rights provide copyright holders with an incentive to produce works, as they are given a time period during which they can exploit the work for their own economic gain.

Similar to the foreign reciprocity clause in the European Union copyright law, the change to the "plus 70" rule is not retroactive, so that if copyright has expired before the coming into force of the amendment it is not revived. The result is that:

  • Any work that was published in the lifetime of the author who died before 1 January 1957, is out of copyright.
  • Any work that was published in the lifetime of the author who died after 31 December 1956, will be out of copyright 70 years after the author's death.

Also any work that was published after the death of the author will be out of copyright 70 years after the year of first publication. Unpublished works hold copyright indefinitely.

Photographs, sound recordings, films, and anonymous/pseudonymous works are copyright for 70 years from their first publication. Television and sound broadcasts are copyright for only 50 years after the year of their first broadcast (though the material contained in the broadcast may be separately copyrighted). Most other works are also dated from the first publication/broadcast/performance where this occurred after the author's death.

The period of 70 years is counted from the end of the relevant calendar year.

For further information, see the Information Sheet: Duration of copyright, produced by the Australian Copyright Council.

Fair dealing

The main exceptions to copyright infringement in Australia come under the general heading fair dealing. In order for a certain use to be a fair dealing, it must fall within one of the following purposes:

  • review or criticism
  • research or study
  • news-reporting
  • judicial proceedings or professional legal advice
  • parody or satire (added by the Copyright Amendment Act 2006)

The use must also be 'fair'. What is fair will depend on all the circumstances, including the nature of the work, the nature of the use and the effect of the use on any commercial market for the work.

Fair dealing is not the same as fair use - a term which allows any use (regardless of purpose) as long as it is 'fair'. This has, for example, been interpreted by US courts to allow for reasonable personal use of works, e.g. media-shifting, which would not necessarily be permitted under Australia's fair dealing laws. Australian copyright law does, however, have a number of additional specific exceptions which permit uses which may fall outside of both fair dealing and fair use. For example, a number of exceptions exist which permit specific uses of computer software.

In 2006, Australia added several 'private copying' exceptions. It is no longer an infringement of copyright to record a broadcast to watch or listen at a more convenient time (s 111), or to make a copy of a sound recording for private and domestic use (e.g., copy onto an iPod) (s 109A), or make a copy of a literary work, magazine, or newspaper article for private use (43C).

Australia also has:

  • a special division of exceptions applying to computer programs (for interoperability, security testing, normal use)
  • a special division of exceptions applying to artworks in public places (to allow photography, incidental filming etc.)
  • statutory (i.e. compulsory) licenses that allow use by schools, universities, and others on payment of a license fee set either by agreement or by the Copyright Tribunal.

Because Australian copyright law recognises temporary copies stored in computer memory as 'reproductions' falling within the copyright owner's exclusive rights, there are also various exceptions for temporary copies made in the ordinary course of use or communication of digital copies of works.

For further information on Fair Dealing, see the Information Sheet G079v06 – Fair dealing: what can I use without permission, produced by the Australian Copyright Council.

Copyright in education

The information provided under this section is reproduced from New technologies and the current copyright framework (, a presentation produced by the National Copyright Unit, SCSEEC on Dec 22 2011. This presentation is the second part of a five part presentation on Copyright for Australian Schools in the Digital World. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial Licence.

There are provisions in the Copyright Act that allow educational institutions to use copyright material for educational purposes without permission from the copyright owner. The main provisions are in Part VB (copying and communicating text, images and notated music), Part VA (copying and communicating TV and radio programs), s28 (performing and communicating material in class), and s200AB.

For further information about copyright in education in Australia, see the following Information Sheets: G048v16 – Education: copyright basic, and G105v02 – Education: concerts, plays & musicals, produced by the Australian Copyright Council.

Part VB: copying and communicating text, images and notated music

Part VB applies to the copying and communication of text and artistic works in digital and hardcopy format for educational purposes.

Part VB licence applies to the following in hardcopy and digital format: e-books and textbooks, photographs, drawings, song lyrics, newspaper articles, sheet music, plays, journals, choreography, poems, maps, cartoons, novels, magazine articles, plans.

The Statutory Text and Artistic Works Licence offers two schemes:

  • Photocopying: photocopying hard copy print and artistic material
  • Electronic Use Scheme (EUS): copying and communicating electronic print and artistic material

Common activities covered by the EUS include:

  • Scanning a hard copy book
  • Printing, saving and downloading material from the Internet (e.g. online articles and images) and electronic resources such as CD-ROMs and E-books
  • Uploading material onto a the school intranet, learning management system, class wiki or blog, or interactive whiteboard
  • Copying material onto portable devices including iPods, MP3 players, mobile phones and USBs

Limits on copying are:

  • 10% of a literary work or 1 chapter of a book
  • 10% of words on a website or CD-ROM
  • One article in a journal, more than 1 article if on the same subject matter

User can copy the whole work if:

  • it has not been separately published, or
  • it is not commercially available within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price (6 months for hardcopy textbooks, 30 days for articles and e-books).

The Statutory Text and Artistic Licence does not allow for two parts of a work, e.g. two 10% excerpts of a text book, to be online at the same time. To minimise risk of infringement, measures must be taken to restrict access to this material to relevant classes only.

For further information on the Statutory Text and Artistic Works Licence see

Part VA: copying and communicating material from TV and radio

Part VA applies to the copying and communication of TV and radio programs for educational purposes.

The Statutory Broadcast Licence allows schools to copy:

  • off-air pay and free-to-air television and radio broadcasts
  • podcasts and webcasts which have originated as free-to-air broadcasts and are available on the broadcaster’s website or YouTube channel

All free-to-air channels in Australia have webcasts of broadcast programs available on their website, e.g. ABC (iView), Channel 7 (PLUS7), Channel 9 (Fixplay), Channel Ten, SBS, TVS. These channels also release broadcast programs through their official YouTube channels.

There are no copying limits. Schools can copy an entire film or television series, e.g. entire season of ABC’s Catalyst. Schools can also format shift TV and radio programs copied under Part VA and make digital copies available on password protected content repositories, e.g. VHS to DVD or VHS/DVD to digital.

Part VA does not apply to:

  • podcasts/webcasts which have not been broadcast
  • copying from Pay TV sources (e.g. BBC, CNN, Tedtalks, Al Jareeza, National Geographic, Discovery). Teachers may copy these programs under s 200AB.

For further information see

S 28: performing and communicating material in class

S 28 does not apply to ‘copying’ material. It allows schools to perform and communicate material in class, or otherwise in the presence of audience. It is a free use exception – no fees are paid.

Examples of what S 28 covers include:

  • play/stream music and films (e.g. from CD/DVDs, online using interactive whiteboard, intranet or LMS)
  • stream webcasts/podcasts from online (e.g. ABC iView and SBS online from interactive whiteboard, intranet or LMS)
  • sing and play instruments
  • perform plays
  • recite poems
  • dance to music

S 28 will not apply to teachers and students performing and communicating film and sound recordings for non-teaching activities (i.e. school concerts, dances or formals, excursions, camps, sports days and fairs).

For further information, see Performance and communication of works and audio-visual material – What am I allowed to do?.

Co-Curricular Licence

The Co-Curricular Licence is an optional licence. This means that the Licence will not apply automatically to all Australian schools. The Co-Curricular licence can be taken up in two ways:

  • on a central basis by the school authority (all schools administered by that authority will be covered).
  • on a school by school basis (where no central licence exists).

If the school is covered by the Licence, it is permitted to play films to teachers, students and parents of the school for the following purposes:

  • At school for entertainment purposes (e.g. at lunchtime on a rainy day)
  • On bus excursions, where the school provides the DVD (not the bus company)
  • At school camps and excursions, including outdoor screenings at camp, where the school provides the DVD (not the camp)
  • At after-school care and holiday programs conducted at and by the school

For further information see

S 200AB: the “special case” or “flexible dealing” exception

S 200AB allows an educational institution to use copyright material for educational instruction, in certain cases, where the use is not covered by other specific exceptions in the Copyright Act. For example, it does not apply to a use covered by Part VA of the Copyright Act (recording and communicating TV and radio programs) or Part VB (copying and communicating text and images).

Types of material that S 200AB covers include:

  • Commercially purchased films and music (e.g. cassette, VHS, CD, DVD or digital formats)
  • Online videos, podcasts and webcasts (not of broadcasts)
  • Audio books

For further information see information sheets: Flexible Dealing and the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 – What am I allowed to do?, and Format Shifting and the Copyright Amendment Act 2006: what am I allowed to do?.

Flexible Dealing - Commercial DVDs

In most cases, teachers are not permitted to make a digital copy of a DVD. This is because most commercial DVDs (e.g. feature films, documentaries and television series) are protected by access control technological protection measures (ATPMs).

ATPMs are technologies which prevent a user from easily accessing and copying the content on a DVD. It is illegal to circumvent an ATPM under the Copyright Act. Making a digital copy of a commercial DVD is likely to involve circumventing the ATPM and therefore is illegal.

For further information see information sheet Technological Protection Measures and the Copyright Amendment Act 2006.

‘Just in case’ format shifting is not permitted. Schools cannot make ‘back up’ copies of resources ‘in case’ the original is destroyed. Schools are not allowed to format shift their whole library or collection (e.g. from video tape to DVD or a content management system) 'just in case' it will be useful later on. Any format shifting needs to be done for the purpose of giving educational instruction in the near future.

Flexible Dealing - Dos and Don’ts

  • Try not to copy more than you need. If you copy too large an amount, it might not be covered by this exception.
  • Access to s 200AB copies must be limited to those students who need to use the material for a class exercise, homework or research task
  • Remove the s 200AB copy from the learning management system, school intranet, class blog/wiki, portal or interactive whiteboard gallery as soon as practical once it is no longer required for the class, homework or research task.
  • Label S 200AB copies with words similar to: ‘Copied under s200AB of the Copyright Act 1968’


The table below provides a summary of the use of different types of materials covered by the provisions in the Copyright Act.

Provisions Copyright Act.png

Copyright reforms

The information provided in this section is reproduced from A user’s guide to the Flexible Dealing provision for libraries, educational institutions and cultural institutions ( The work is published by the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee and the Australian Digital Alliance with the assistance of the National Library of Australia, 2008. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia.

It is recognised that copyright law must strike a balance between providing the incentive to create and providing users (and creators) of copyright material with reasonable access. It is particularly important that copyright law is not so restrictive that it hinders people and institutions from using copyright material for socially beneficial purposes, such as education and research.

For this reason, the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) contains a number of exceptions to copyright holders’ rights. Where an exception applies, the individual or institution does not need to obtain the permission of the copyright holder before they use the material, and in many cases, will not need to pay a fee or royalty.

Most exceptions under Australian copyright law are quite specific in nature. That is, they only apply to certain types of uses or purposes. For example, the ‘fair dealing’ exceptions apply only to uses such as criticism and review, reporting the news, research and study, and parody and satire.

There are also exceptions that apply to certain organisations, for example libraries, and only to certain uses within libraries, such as copying for preservation purposes.

Copyright Amendment Act 2006

The Copyright Amendment Act 2006 came into effect in December 2006, and among other things introduced new criminal provisions, provisions relating to digital locks (called ‘technological protection measures’), and a number of exceptions for users of copyright materials. Prior to this, the Attorney-General’s Department released an issues paper on copyright exceptions.

Many user groups, including the Australian Digital Alliance and the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee, made submissions to the government in support of a flexible dealing provision, similar to the ‘fair use’ exception in the United States. However, the US exception is different from Australia’s in that it does not apply to specific purposes, specific types of uses and certain types of bodies or institutions. The US exception is a general provision available to any individual or body and involves balancing factors such as the way the material is used and the effect the use will have on the market for the copyright material. As it is a general provision, new or innovative uses (including new uses as technology changes), are possible under this doctrine provided the circumstances of the use are ‘fair’.

The Flexible Dealing Provision

The Copyright Amendment Act 2006 does not include a US-style ‘fair use’ provision, but does include section 200AB. This provision applies to libraries, archives and educational institutions, as well as people and institutions assisting those with a disability, and is intended to operate like fair use.

Section 200AB is intended to be a flexible exception that allows use of copyright material for certain socially useful purposes. This provision should allow use of copyright material for “special” purposes that benefit the broader Australian community.

This flexible dealing provision will be particularly helpful to institutions in cases where their proposed use of copyright material falls outside other specific exceptions, such as fair dealing or library and archives preservation provisions.

Very briefly, the requirements for using the flexible dealing provision are:

  • no other exceptions apply
  • the use is for a certain purpose (more information on this is provided later)
  • the use is non-commercial
  • the use will not prejudice the copyright holder
  • the use will not compete with, or take profit from, the copyright holder
  • the use is a special case.

The final three requirements are known as the ‘three-step test’. This test has been directly imported from international treaties such as the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The three-step test is the threshold that domestic governments (who are signatories to TRIPS) need to apply when introducing exceptions to copyright to ensure compliance with international law.

Although there are a few steps to satisfy before making use of this provision, it is important to remember that the purpose of the provision is to make it possible for institutions to use copyright material for a range of socially beneficial purposes, and it is to operate in a flexible way.

Other exceptions under the Copyright Act only deal with a narrow range of specific situations and uses, therefore preventing the use of the copyright material even though it would not have a detrimental effect on the copyright holder and would be beneficial to society. These kinds of uses are possible under the flexible dealing provision.

Some common areas where section 200AB will be able to help libraries, archives, galleries and educational institutions are:

  • format-shifting
  • use of orphan works (works whose copyright holders cannot be identified or located)
  • digitisation
  • adapting works to assist with educational instruction, to assist in the operation of a library or archives, or to produce a more accessible copy of the work.

For further information, see the following Information Sheets: G096v07 – Amendments: major reforms to copyright from 2006, and G091v03 – Fair use: what you need to know, produced by the Australian Copyright Council.

OER Initiatives in Australia

The Survey on Governments' OER policies states that Australia is active in the field of OER. Although there are no national or state-level OER policies at the moment, there are various OER activities at national, regional and institutional levels. A proposal is anticipated within the next 12 months recommending the adoption of an OER policy. Obstacles to such adoption in Australia include suspicions of private schools “freeloading” on publicly funded educational materials, unwillingness by commercial institutions and educators to share materials, and expectations of remuneration. Another problem mentioned by Australia in the implementation of OER is redefining copyright and intellectual property regulations [3].

In Australia, the level of funding for OER is reportedly difficult to estimate as different learning materials are paid for or produced in different way — at a national level, state level, school level, teacher level (teachers produce some learning materials for use by their students and sometimes make them available to other teachers and students) and student level (students directly purchase licences or subscriptions for some learning materials)[3].

An online survey of higher education institutions to ascertain the state of play of OER in Australia was conducted in 2011 as part of the OER in Australia project. The survey was completed by participants from 32 universities (out of the 39 universities) and four other tertiary institutions. Responses from the survey indicate that there is a high level of OER awareness, but low level of adoption of OER and involvement in OER initiatives in higher education, due to the fact that OER practices and initiatives are not included in the current strategic plans of most participating institutions in Australia. As for policies, there is an urgent need for public policies to promote access and availability of OER in higher education section in Australia. At an institution level, the lack of institutional policies to address OER developments is identified as a barrier to facilitate the growth of the OER movement [1].

National OER initiatives

Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework (AusGOAL)

The Australian government is in the early stages of opening access to public data and resources. This is being explored through the Australian government’s Open Access and Licensing (AusGOAL) framework. AusGOAL builds upon the Queensland Government's Information Licensing Framework (GILF), and provides support and guidance to government and related sectors to facilitate open access to publicly funded information. AusGOAL makes it possible for organisations to manage their risks when publishing information and data in a way that drives innovation and entrepreneurial activities, and providing enhanced economic and social benefits to the wider community. AusGOAL is aligned with numerous open government initiatives around the world and supports the Australian Information Commissioners Open Access Principles.

AusGOAL incorporates Creative Commons licences, as well as additional licensing models, including:

  • The Australian Creative Commons Version 3.0 licences
  • The AusGOAL Restrictive Licence Template
  • The BSD 3-Clause software licence
  • Licensing tools
  • An AusGOAL Microsoft Office App
  • The Licence Chooser tool and 'Licence Manager' licence injector software

AusGOAL’s research and innovation sector partner published a cost/benefit study on open access to data ( In addition, Education Services Australia (a national body owned by the State Ministers) has education-specific data generated from tertiary research.

Australian Scheme for Higher Education Repositories (ASHER)

Funding for the ASHER program was provided to assist eligible Higher Education Provides (HEPs) to develop their data systems to prepare for the Research Quality Framework (RQF) which has been replaced by the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative. The Australian Government has provided $25.5 million through the ASHER program over three years (2007-09) to assist eligible HEPs to establish and maintain digital repositories. This allowed institutions to place their research outputs, including journal articles and less traditional outputs such as digitised artworks or x-ray crystallography images, in an accessible digital store for a variety of purposes, including assessment of research. It also allowed HEPs to make their research outputs more widely available to other researchers, business and the community. The scheme built on previous Government investment for research and development of data repository technology, the management of user authentication and access, and related copyright issues to improve the discoverability and accessibility of publicly funded research. The ASHER program is a way that the Australian Government shows its commitment to making publicly funded research more readily available.

National Digital Learning Resource Network

In 2010, a national repository of several thousand digital teaching resources - National Digital Learning Resource Network, or the Learning Federation resources, owned collectively by Australian Government Education departments, was transitioned from an FFE (Full Figure Entertainment) model to an OER model using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC BY-SA). This has allowed increased access to education for the learning community (students and parents can access material from anywhere).

The National Digital Learning Resources Network contains more than 12,000 digital curriculum resources that are free for use in all Australian schools. The resources are aligned to state and territory curriculums and are progressively being aligned to the Australian Curriculum as it develops. The resources are made available to teachers through state and territory portals or Scootle. The tertiary sector can access the content through the eContent repository.

Australian National Data Service (ANDS)

ANDS is a database containing resources from research institutions in Australia. It was funded by the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR). The funding has been provided through Australian Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) as part of the Platforms for Collaboration Investment Plan. The NCRIS roadmap emphasized the vital importance of eResearch Infrastructure to Australian future research competitiveness. ANDS was established in 2008 to help address the challenges of storing and managing Australia's research data, and making it discoverable and accessible for validation and reuse. It is a joint collaboration between Monash University , the Australian National University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). In mid-2009 ANDS was further funded by the Education Investment Fund (EIF) for the establishment of the Australian Research Data Commons under the Australian Government’s Super Science Initiative.

Guide to Open Source Software for Australian Government Agencies

The Guide to Open Source Software for Australian Government Agencies is a companion document to the 2004 publication A Guide to ICT Sourcing (since updated September 2007). Between them these publications provide a basis for better ICT procurement decisions across the whole of the Australian Government.

This Guide requires that government agencies first consider open source software options when requesting tenders. The Guide seeks to assist agencies by providing practical information and approaches for agencies to consider when assessing open source solutions. Risk management procedures and the different contractual considerations that can apply to open source software issues are addressed in the Guide, as are cost of ownership issues. Understanding cost of ownership issues for open source software is important because, under an open source model, costs are incurred at different phases of the implementation and operation of an information technology system.

Government 2.0

It is an Australian government initiative focused on the use of technology to encourage a more open and transparent form of government, where the public has a greater role in forming policy and has improved access to government information.

Education Network Australia (EdNA)

EdNA is partly funded by the Australian Department of Education, and contained resources for pre-schools, schools, vocational and technical, adult and community, and teacher training. edna provides resources and networks for the education and training community. It includes government and non-government schooling systems, early childhood, vocational and technical education, adult and community education and higher education.

The Le@rning Federation

The Le@rning Federation is managed by Education Services Australia on behalf of the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA). It provides different types of digital resources (learning objects, images, auido, video) for teaching and assessment.

Schools Online Curriculum Content Initiative

This is a project of Education Services Australia which manages the national resource collection and infrastructure of digital curriculum resources. These resources are aligned with the curricula of the Australian states and territories and will be aligned with the Australian Curriculum as it develops. It works with cultural institutions and other public organisations to open collections to schools across Australia and New Zealand. Approximately half of the funding is provided by the Australian Government, with the remainder provided by participating states and territories.


Scootle is the national repository of digital learning resources accessible by teachers across Australia. It is a joint initiative of Australian state governments to create and share open teaching and learning resources for International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 1-3. Scootle provides interactive learning and assessment objects, contemporary and historical videos, documents, photographs, artworks, speeches and interviews, and other teacher support materials. Search results can be filtered by year level, learning area and resource type. The limitation is that the resources are only available to licensed educators and students in Australia and New Zealand.

Australasian Council on Open, Distance and E-Learning (ACODE)

ACODE is funded by the Australian Government to promote the uptake of OER produced by teaching and learning initiatives. ACODE is undertaking a survey (in 2012) to their members (almost all the universities in Australia and New Zealand, plus University of the South Pacific and a few more) on OER, not only focusing on attitudes but also courses, policies and actions, with an emphasis on transparency and evidencing.

Regional OER initiatives

The Survey on Governments' OER policies states that Australian state governments are actively supporting the open licensing of public sector information. Queensland has been leading the development of a process for applying Creative Commons licensing to its content. Queensland’s commitment to open government is reflected in the open availability of government documents (except where this is not in the public interest). In Victoria, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is steadily adopting licensing practices that align with OER. Its licensing framework on its website allows users to copy or use materials for personal use, but does not permit modifications. The Department has also developed its own copyright matrix, which outlines terms of use for various materials. Some allow users to modify materials, whilst others do not. In addition, they have released a range of guides and resources under CC licences. The Government of South Australia’s Department for Education is currently developing resources that will be distributed under Creative Commons licences (CC-BY-NC and CC-BY-SA). The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education has developed several specific interactive teaching resources and released them under a CC licence. The decisions to generate/use OER are made on an ad hoc basis, generally at the level of individual institutions or (occasionally) in relation to specific content collections. The Western Australian Department of Education actively counsels teachers to find and use OER through their preferred search engines, and is currently investigating the issue of applying open licences to materials developed with public funds. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Directorate of Education and Training makes decisions about the licensing of materials on a case-by- case basis, depending on how resources will be used. For example, materials published on the Internet are available under a CC-BY-SA licence [3].

The Survey on Governments' OER policies reveals that different states in Australia experience different obstacles to the adoption of OER. For example [3]:

  • There is a need to provide professional development training to incorporate OER into the curriculum.
  • OER awareness is low in some states.
  • Some states are in the early stages of exploring and developing OER, and it is expected that the movement will gain momentum over time as there is a culture change from “mine” to “ours” and as older resources are reviewed and any missing copyright information and attribution information is added.
  • Dealing with Australian copyright law, which includes a compulsory statutory licence for educational institutions, enabling them to copy a reasonable portion of various works in return for remuneration is a challenge. Issues relating to the scope, administration and fees payable under this licence have commanded much attention in copyright debates. This focus on a remunerated statutory licence may explain, in some part, delays in development of OER and other alternative models in the NSW education system.
  • OER may not be regarded as an urgent priority in Australia, compared to developing countries, as it has a highly developed and reasonably well-funded education sector and therefore may not face the need for free and open resources.
  • In East Melbourne, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) has increasingly not sought copyright ownership when commissioning materials, but has sought a licence for materials to be used for educational purposes, as this is a cheaper option. However, if the DEECD’s rights to use the materials have been limited, this can limit its capacity to make the materials available to others.
  • Clearing copyright problems with embedded materials, where content providers/creators (including students and teachers) incorporate materials with restricted licensing terms, can be challenging.

Institutional OER initiatives

The Survey on Governments' OER policies that in the higher education subsector Australian universities have been slower in adopting OER. However, there is recognition of the value of OER. Several cultural and educational institutions have made content available on a “free for education” (FFE) basis, which generally permits free use but not reuse, remixing or redistribution, as would typically be expected under an OER model [3].

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ)

USQ has a formal OER strategy. The university joined the OpenCourseWare (OCW) Consortium in 2007. At present, the USQ OCW site offers sample courses from each of USQ’s five faculties and also courses from its Tertiary Preparation Program.

The University of Canberra

The University of Canberra proposed a policy on Intellectual Property (IP) ( Key points of the proposal include:

  • Staff, students and partners retain ownership of their IP
  • IP published through University of Canberra adopts a Creative Commons Attribution copyright license, with an opt-out process triggering targeted education, protection, legal and/or commercialisation services
  • Indigenous knowledge and culture is protected and autonomy promoted.

For more information on this policy visit:

Macquarie University

The Macquarie E-Learning Centre of Excellence (MELCOE) at the Macquarie University specialises in developing open source software tools and open standards for e-learning.

OER university

University of Southern Queensland (USQ), and the University of Wollongong, are the two Australian universities members of the OER university initiative.

OER in Australia

OER in Australia is run by the University of New England and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, and Massey University in New Zealand. The project was funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), formerly the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC). The project consisted of a comprehensive analysis of the state of OER internationally and nationally and the collection of national and institutional policies in Australia. A survey of higher education institutions was undertaken to ascertain the state of play of OER in Australia. Key findings from the survey are published in [2].

Another project outcome is to develop a feasible protocol. “The protocol will provide universities and the wider educational sector with an analysis of current policies and resources and provide examples, alternatives, and solutions for institutional barriers to facilitate the potential adoption, use, and management of OER” [2].

ADAPT - Enhancing the teaching of Adaptations through Open Educational Resources (OER)

Adapt will create a repository of Open Educational Resources to enhance learning and teaching in Adaptation studies. The project is funded by the Australian Government's Office for Learning and Teaching, and led by the University of Tasmania, in partnership with Monash University, the University of Queensland and the University of Western Australia. Project partners will share learning and teaching materials across the disciplines in the Arts and Humanities to encourage the identification of a community of scholars who engage with the study of textual adaptation in a variety of contexts. The project will be complete at the end of 2012.

Australian universities on iTunes U

In Australa 14 universities and colleges and 8 K-12 schools have a presence on iTunes U. A list of Australian educational institutions on iTunes U by October 2012 is provided as follows:

  • Australian Universities and colleges on iTunes U:
  • Australian National University
  • Bond University
  • Deakin University
  • Endeavour College of Natural Health
  • Griffith University
  • La Trobe University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • RMIT University
  • Southern Cross University
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • TAFE NSW - North Coast Institute
  • University of Melbourne
  • The University of Queensland
  • UNSW - University of New South Wales
  • Australian schools on iTunes U:
  • Braemar College
  • Catholic Network Australia
  • John Morash Science School
  • John XXIII College
  • MLC School
  • Parramatta Marist High School
  • PLC Perth and Scotch College
  • St. Hilda's School

Institutional repositories

Some Australian universities have created repositories of learning objects. Even though some these repositories support the Creative Commons license, very few allow for redesigning and repurposing of the content, which therefore limits the value of these resources. Some of these repositories can only be accessed by the universities’ staff and students.


The Open2Study initiative ( is the Australian-based MOOC platform. It offers courses in the following areas: Arts and Humanities, Business, Education and Training, Finance, Health and Medicine, Management, Marketing and Advertising, and Science and Technologies. The courses are based around an xMOOC pedagogy, consisting of text, audio, video and quizzes. Currently, 49 courses are available. 30 institutions are members, they are primarily based in Australia, but Jordan University of Science and Technology, and Massey University (in New Zealand) are also members. Massey did a significant launch of their two courses (Emergency Management and Agriculture and the world we live in) in November 2012. Open2Study claim that they have much lower drop out rates on their MOOCs than the typically quoted rate of ca. 95%. The platform is clean and easy to navigate and there are good learning analytics data available. It is possible to get accreditation for the MOOCs through Open Universities Australia. It is possible to get a certificate of achievement for completion of 60 % or more of a MOOC. The website provides tips and hints on how to participate in the MOOCs. The website states the following:

Open2Study provides free, specialised short courses, entirely online, across the world, in a range of subject areas. Our providers come from the best education providers across Australia, and around the world, to work with our dedicated team of learning designers and television producers, and create an online learning experience that is second-to-none.

When we build our courses, we are involved at every stage of the process. It’s how we make sure you receive a consistent experience, with quality content delivered in an easy-to-use and compelling format.

We also have a team of social learning facilitators, who are with you in the community and classroom forums, as well as across our social media networks, to share the latest research and opinion, and help you to take your learning to the next level.

OER Policies in Australia

National Policies

Regional Policies

Institutional Policies



[1] Bossu, C., Bull, D., & Brown, M. (2012). Opening up Down Under: the role of open educational resources in promoting social inclusion in Australia. Distance Education, 33(2), 151–164.

[2] Ewing, S. & Thomas, J. (2012). CCi Digital Futures 2012: The Internet in Australia. ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology.

[3] Hoosen, S. (2012). Survey on Governments’ Open Educational Resources (OER) Policies. A report prepared for the World OER Congress, June 2012. This report was carried out by the Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO and partially funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This report is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Licence (international).

[4] National Copyright Unit (2011). New technologies and the current copyright framework., a presentation produced by the National Copyright Unit, SCSEEC on Dec 22 2011. This presentation is the second part of a five part presentation on Copyright for Australian Schools in the Digital World. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial Licence.

[5] The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee and the Australian Digital Alliance (2008). A user’s guide to the Flexible Dealing provision for libraries, educational institutions and cultural institutions.

[6] Wright, R. (2015). Open Education Australia, June 2015.




> Countries

>> Main Page