The Turnbull Government has appointed a new Chair and five new members to a panel responsible for advice on how to maintain the quality and standards of Australia’s higher education system.


Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham congratulated the Panel on their appointments and re-appointments and said Professor Ian O’Connor AC, Vice Chancellor of Griffith University, would take on the role of Chair.


Professor O’Connor will be joined by new members Deputy Chair Professor Kerri-Lee Krause, Dr Don Owers AM, Adrienne Nieuwenhuis, Sadie Heckenberg and Professor Kent Anderson as well as re-appointed members the Hon Phil Honeywood and Dr Krystal Evans.


“I look forward to working with the Panel to strengthen Australia’s world-leading higher education system,” Minister Birmingham said.


As part of an initial work plan, Minister Birmingham has asked the Panel to:

  • Oversee a review of the higher education Provider Category Standards
  • Work with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to further improve its regulatory approach
  • Assess the effectiveness of the Higher Education Standards Framework for the regulation of overseas campuses of Australian institutions
  • Consider whether credit transfer policies and standards in higher education are adequately meeting the needs of students and institutions
  • Provide input to the Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework
  • Monitor and receive reports from the QILT Working Group and the Higher Education Data Committee’s efforts to reduce duplication in higher education reporting requirements; and
  • Identify other deregulatory opportunities in higher education.


“The Panel members’ experience and expertise will continue to help develop and guide Australian higher education policies and practices,” Minister Birmingham said. 


“I would like to thank the outgoing chair, Professor Peter Shergold AC, who will complete his term today. Over the last three years he has made an outstanding contribution chairing the Higher Education Standards Panel, and prior to that as Chair of the TEQSA Advisory Council.


“I would also like to thank the outgoing Panel members, Professor Greg Craven AO, Professor Alan Robson AO, and Ms Karen Thomas for their significant contributions.


“Under Professor Shergold’s guidance, the Panel undertook important work to improve student admissions transparency, oversee implementation of the revised Higher Education Standards Framework, reduce the burden of professional accreditation requirements, review the impact of the TEQSA Act on the higher education sector, and examine threats to academic integrity, just to mention a few.


Professor O’Connor will take over as Chair of the Panel following the first meeting of 2018. The Panel members are appointed for three year terms.