Skip to content

Frequently Asked Questions

This page answers some of the most common questions we get asked.

If you have a question not covered here, please contact the Legal & Risk Helpdesk via email or phone us on 8313 4539.

  • How does legal compliance apply to the University

    Over 200 Acts specifically apply to the University. Some compliance laws (eg. animal welfare, defence trade controls) are very relevant to the workings of the University, such as anti-discrimination legislation and Research. Other laws are less visible, but nevertheless important, such as the Aboriginal Heritage Act or the Sewerage Act.

    Legal requirements flow from our role as a higher education provider (e.g. ESOS Act) and others from the fact that the University is an entity created under statute for a public purpose (e.g. Ombudsman Act).

    Some legislation applies to activities that are specific to sections of the University (such as agricultural legislation applying to Roseworthy operations.) Other legislation applies simply because the University is a business (such as tax laws or consumer law).

    The University has an obligation to ensure that it is meeting all legal requirements. All personnel have a responsibility to support this objective.

  • Why did the University establish the Legal Compliance Framework?

    The Legal Compliance Framework was developed in 2008/2009 following a recommendation made by the Auditor General. Until then, aside from specialty areas like Health, Safety & Wellbeing and Research Ethics, management of our legal compliance across the whole University could not be demonstrated.

    The Legal and Risk Branch developed a high-level framework with area-specific tools and resources to help staff identify and manage legal obligations and formalise existing compliance responsibilities.

    In late-2009, a pilot was undertaken in the Schools of History and Politics and Medical Sciences. A staged rollout plan was completed in 2014.

  • How are University staff involved in the Legal Compliance Framework?

    The Framework is designed to reach across the University and equip staff from all areas with the basic knowledge and information needed to meet compliance obligations. Each area will have at least one Local Compliance Officer (LCO) who will be aware of legislation most likely to impact on the area's activities. Each area also has a Local Area Head (LAH) who is responsible for certify local compliance during the annual legal compliance certification process. LCOs support LAHs to resolve non-compliance at the local level.

    Designated Specialist Officers (DSOs) are located across the University and their area of work gives them an insight into specific categories of legislation. This expertise can assist other staff and contact details for specialists are included in the Legislation Directory webpages. These resources can be accessed by all University staff.

    Some senior staff members are required to certify compliance on behalf of their area. Similarly, each category of legislation has a designated University Compliance Owner (UCO) who monitors compliance across the whole University in the category.

    More information can be found in the Legal Compliance Handbook which can be downloaded from the website.

  • What does it mean to be compliant?

    Legal compliance refers to behaving in accordance with legislation, or meeting a mandated standard, activity or behaviour set out in an Act of Parliament (legislation), Code or Guideline (legislative instruments). 'Non-compliance' is a failure to conform to requirements set out in these statutes, either deliberately or inadvertently.

  • What is a "non-compliance case"?

    A non-compliance case is an actual or potential breach of State or Federal Legislation. The breach may be inadvertent because of a change in law or activity. Once identified at the local level, staff must advise the University Compliance Centre about the issue. The nature of the non-compliance is specified and recorded on the Compliance Register in consultation with the local area. Other University compliance role holders and managers are notified automatically.

    The majority of non-compliance cases are non-intentional breaches and do not invoke any suggestion of illegal activity or misconduct.

  • Why has the University mandated the Legal Compliance Framework?

    As a large statutory corporation, the University must take its legal compliance obligations seriously but recognises that keeping track of all legal requirements is difficult. The Framework makes it easier for staff to identify their obligations and allows the University to demonstrate measures taken to act within statutory requirements.

    From a risk management perspective, having a mandated legal compliance framework makes sense. When legislation impacts on our activities, the law cannot be ignored. The Framework provides piece of mind to staff and to the University Council. We can readily demonstrate our compliance to external organisations (e.g. TEQSA, NHMRC, Auditor-General).

  • What are the consequences of non-compliance?

    The consequences and penalties associated with non-compliance vary considerably.

    Most instances of non-compliance are simple oversights and can be quickly corrected. But any failure to comply can expose the University to embarrassment, investigation, legal prosecution and institutional cost. It may also expose employees and managers to personal criminal prosecution or civil liability. Deliberate non-compliance may be serious misconduct under the enterprise agreement.

    For example:

    • University-wide breaches of the Competition and Consumer Act can result in fines of up to $1.1million per offence or 10% of the University’s annual turnover per breach. Breaches by individual employees may result in fines of up to $500,000.
    • Breaching the Liquor Licensing Act may lead to the University having its liquor licence suspended, revoked or have further conditions imposed on it.
    • Breaches of the Copyright Act may result in copyright owners issuing legal proceedings against to the University (as an institution) or an individual (personally).

    These consequences can usually be avoided when legal compliance obligations and subsequent risks are identified and effectively managed by an area.

  • Why should I report a non-compliance case?

    Reporting all non-compliances ensures that the University has a central record of legal issues that are being worked through. Some cases can take years to resolve and it is important that the corporate knowledge surrounding these cases be captured and retained for future staff. Evidence of the action being taken may also assist the University should any future legal action arise. External regulators and investigating agencies are reassured that our response processes are effective.

    Reporting a non-compliance early will ensure actions are taken immediately, before a breach or potential breach becomes more serious. Talking to  the University Compliance Centre means that other support services such as legal, insurance or risk management can be offered where necessary.

    The Legal Compliance Policy requires all personnel to report incidence of actual or near non-compliance.

  • What should I do if I think a law is being breached within the University?

    Talk to someone. The Legal Compliance Framework involves staff from across the University, not just Legal and Risk Branch. The website can help you identify a Local Compliance Officer (LCO) and you could discuss it with them or your Head of School (contact information is available here). If the issue is confidential, or if you are unsure what action to take, contact the Manager Compliance on 8313 0482.

    Most incidents or non-compliances are not intentional and may only become obvious once they have happened. Reporting can ensure actions are put into place early, before a breach or potential breach becomes more serious. The Framework provides tools for managing compliance at the local area level, not for investigating or blaming staff. There are other processes in place to deal with illegal activity (see Integrity and Public Accountability page).

  • How do I identify a non-compliance?

    It can take a great deal of discussion before an issue reaches the status of a 'non-compliance'. If you are concerned about an issue but are unsure as to whether a matter relates to legal compliance or something else such as University policy, staff or student conduct, contract management, see the Integrity and Public Accountability page. The University Compliance Centre or any of the legal counsel in Legal & Risk Branch can be contacted via the Legal & Risk Helpdesk email.

  • Isn't legal compliance just more red tape?

    No. The Legal Compliance Framework is designed to reduce red tape by raising awareness of compliance and supporting self-management of legislative requirements at a local level.

  • How is legal compliance activity monitored?

    Each area has staff members with nominated compliance roles. When a non-compliance matter is identified, it should be reported to the University Compliance Centre (UCC). Heads of Faculty or Division (HFD) are automatically notified of any non-compliance recorded on the central register (Register of Non-Compliance Activity). The HFD is provided with a quarterly report updating any action taken to resolve each reported case.

    Non-compliance cases are also reported to the Vice Chancellor and President (and to the Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee).

    Once a non-compliance has been identified, recorded and notified, the UCC continues to liaise with the relevant staff until the issue is resolved. While the UCC can provide assistance, the capacity to resolve any the issue rests with the management team for each areas.

  • What happens if I am found to be non-compliant? Who can help?

    The Legal Compliance Framework has been specifically designed to ensure that all staff can readily access the support and advice they need in their local area.

    Each School or Branch has staff members who have been nominated as Local Compliance Officers (LCO) and should be able to assist in resolving local-level non-compliance issues. These officers are listed on your local area webpage page on the Legal Compliance website. Similarly, certain staff have been nominated as Designated Specialist Officers (DSO) and should be able to assist in resolving University-wide compliance matters.

    In all cases, Legal and Risk will offer support where required, particularly if specialist legal advice is needed or an external body becomes involved.

  • Why do I need to know about legal requirements? Isn't this just something my Manager needs to worry about?

    All University staff have an obligation to observe the law and be compliant - not just Managers or Heads of School. We are all affected by legislation to varying degrees and must manage our compliance obligations individually.

    In some cases, an employee may be personally responsible for a non-compliance, which means that if the University is found to be in breach of an Act, the individuals responsible for the breach are also personally liable, and may face fines or a criminal conviction. The University's insurance will not cover an employee for penalties or legal costs where deliberate or negligent illegal activity is involved.

  • How will I know what an Act requires of me?

    Deciphering the requirements of an Act and applying it to your work situation can be tricky even if you have a legal background. The University Compliance Centre (UCC) has developed a range of resources including online legislation summaries (accessible via the Resources page) which provide overviews of Acts as applies to the University. These are a good starting point for staff to improve their general compliance knowledge.

    If you are still unsure of your compliance obligations contact the University Compliance Centre. Email the Helpdesk or phone 8313 4539.

  • Will I have to change what I am doing to be legally compliant?

    Probably not. Compliance is largely about common-sense and transparent processes. Most people appreciate their legal obligations. The Legal Compliance Framework helps with the details and connects the dots across the University to allow us to illustrate our compliance to external agencies and funders.

    If there are activities that you are not sure about, the University Compliance Centre can help you work through your legal obligations and provide reassurance or help find a better solution.

  • What happens if I ignore laws that I don't agree with?

    Sometimes the law can be badly expressed, it can be inconvenient and restrictive. However, compliance with State and Commonwealth law is not discretionary.

    Ignoring laws can lead to external sanctions being imposed on both the University and staff members, and internal disciplinary measures (including Code of Conduct) being enforced.

    Equally, it is important to address laws that excessively restrict your work at the University. Please contact us to discuss.

  • How does the University know that all Schools and Branches are being compliant?

    The Legal Compliance Framework includes an annual certification process. All areas of the University provide an Certification of Compliance to the Vice-Chancellor and President, who in turn reports this to the Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee and then to Council.

    Local Area Heads (e.g. Heads of School or Branch Heads) are required to certify compliance in their area, while University Compliance Owners, are required to certify compliance within their categories of legislation. This process provides assurance to executive managers and out governing bodies that all facets of our legal obligations are covered.

    Certifications acknowledge non-compliance issues that have occurred and provide demonstrable evidence that the University is attending to its compliance obligations.

  • How do I know if I have been compliant with laws?

    Compliance resources on the Legal and Risk website can help. Legislative summaries give an overview of individual Acts as they apply to the University and provide a good starting point for increasing your compliance knowledge.

    It helps to be aware of any legislation that might be relevant in your day to day work. If you know the name of the Act, start by searching for a resource or contact the Designated Specialist Officer named in the material or the University Compliance Centre for clarification.

  • Do all Universities have the same legal compliance obligations?

    No. All Universities must abide by law within the jurisdiction in which they operate. But the laws applying to each institution will be dependent on activities conducted. There is considerable overlap in the obligations of Australian Universities, but each will have a different approach to management of compliance.

    The Legal Compliance Policy has been mandated by the University of Adelaide Council as the most effective way of dealing with our legal compliance obligations..

  • What are some examples of non-compliance?
    • A staff member misquotes a course fee to a potential student (Breach of the Competition and Consumer Act)
    • A staff member alleges her employment was terminated because the University could not accommodate her commitment as a carer (Potential breach of the Fair Work Act)
    • A Senior Manager finishes employment at the University and orders his notebooks to be destroyed and all of his emails to be deleted (Breach of the State Records Act)
    • A school hosts its end-of-year exhibition at an off-campus location, selling alcohol without obtaining a liquor licence (Breach of the Liquor Licensing Act)
    • The personal details of 60 staff members, including their phone number and address, is accidentally emailed to a staff member (Breach of the Privacy Act)
    • Testing of a drone commences without proper licensing (Breach of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations)

For further details on any of these issues, please contact: Sandra Lilburn (Manager Compliance) on 8313 0482. For all Legal Compliance enquiries, including your obligations under a particular Act, email helpdesklegal@adelaide.edu.au.

Contracts and Agreements

Student Field Trips, Work Experience and Internships

Off-campus Activities

Purchase or Sending of Equipment or Material

  • We are shipping research material to the USA. Is this covered by insurance?

    Yes – This is covered under the Marine Transit policy. Insurance is automatic and there are no forms to be filled out. If the value is greater than $10,000, inform Legal and Risk in advance so that the insurer can be advised of the shipment, as they may require that an inspection of the packaging and method of shipping be undertaken. You should also ensure that any licence or permit requirements associated with export are met. If you are in doubt and require further guidance, contact the Legal & Risk Helpdesk.

  • We have purchased high value equipment in Germany that is going to be shipped to the University. Do we have insurance for this?

    There are two ways that this equipment can be insured.

      1. The manufacturer can insure the shipment on a Free into Store basis. This is the best approach and the preferred option as the manufacturer will take more responsibility for the packaging and method of shipment.
      2. The other option is for the University to insure the equipment under its Marine Transit policy. This requires advance notice of the shipping to Legal and Risk so that the insurer can be advised. Depending upon the value of the shipment, an additional premium may be charged which will be the responsibility of the School to pay. The insurer may also require that an inspection by a Marine Surveyor be undertaken to ensure that the equipment is correctly packed and is shipped in a manner that will not cause damage. This option will incur additional costs for the School.

    Motor Vehicles

    • I am in the School of Rocket-science. One of our vehicles has been damaged and will cost $1,500 to repair. Do we have to report it to the insurance company?

      As long as there is no third party involved to claim against the University, it is not necessary to report the damage to the insurance company as the cost to repair is less than $2,000. The School can arrange for repair of the vehicle and is responsible for all payment associated with the repairs. If there is a third party involved then the claim must be reported to the insurer regardless of the cost of repair.

    • I will be hiring a vehicle while on University approved travel. Do I need to purchase excess cover from the vehicle hire company?

      It is common in some overseas countries for vehicle hire companies to offer a cheap hire rate with optional “loss
      damage” or “collision damage” waivers.

      A loss or collision damage waiver is an agreement with a car rental company which releases the renter from
      liability for physical damage to the vehicle in exchange for a fee, subject to the terms of the rental agreement or a state statute if one exists (i.e. the USA).

      The waiver is not insurance. It is a contractual obligation subject to many restrictions (e.g reckless driving,
      driving under the influence). In some contracts, the renter has a choice to buy a full or partial damage waiver.
      The rental agreement typically stipulates that purchasing the damage waiver is not mandatory.

      The University recommends that you buy a full waiver to ensure that (subject to any exceptions set out in the hire agreement) damage to the vehicle will be capped at an agreed price. Without this loss or collision waiver, if you damage the vehicle, you may be liable for the full value of the damage/vehicle.

      If you have an accident, the first $5k of the loss or collision damage waiver excess will be covered by the
      University’s travel insurer.

    Research

    • I am a staff member working overseas and I will be away for more than 12 months. Will I be covered by the University’s Travel Policy?

      Expatriate Insurance cover needs to be put in place for staff travelling, studying and working overseas for more than 12 months before staff leave Australia. Stand-alone Expat policies can be arranged by Legal & Risk Branch. Cover can also be arranged for couples and a family. The cover is renewed annually, and the policy premium is paid for by the staff member’s Faculty or School. Staff responsible for negotiating the terms and conditions of employment, and the individual staff members involved, should consider these insurance arrangements at the time of negotiating the terms and conditions of employment.

      For more information, please refer to the Staff Expatriate Insurance Guide.

    • I am a PhD student undertaking a 12 month study term in France. Do I have travel insurance or do I need to buy my own?

      As a PhD Student, you are provided up to 365 days of cover providing that:

      • Your travel has been approved by Head of School
      • Your personal holiday time does not exceed 28 days

      If you intend to be away for more than 365 days or your private travel is more than 28 days, you must purchase Top-Up Travel cover at additional personal cost and prior to departure from Australia. To purchase additional cover, complete the Top-Up Travel Proposal form (included in the Student Travel Guide) and send it to the University insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) in Adelaide. AJG will provide you with a quote; once confirmed by you, they will email you policy details and a Tax Invoice for payment.

      For more information please refer to the Student Travel Guide.

    • I will be travelling to Canada for a semester as part of the Global Learning program. What travel insurance do I need and what does the University provide me?

      Insurance is provided to University of Adelaide students whose travel has been approved for credit or recognised as fulfilling part of their degree, or has otherwise been approved by their Head of School/Branch. Cover is provided to undergraduate students for 180 days. It is extended to incidental private travel, provided that the private travel component does not exceed 50 % of the University approved travel, and is less than 28 days.

      The Canadian Government (and certain other Global Learning destinations, including the United States) requires students to purchase in-country medical insurance for the duration of their stay in Canada.

      All students are encouraged to check the requirement for in-country health insurance with the host organisation or embassy of the country they are intending to visit before embarking on their trip. In certain circumstances, the University travel insurance may not satisfy the requirements of the host University or the country the student is travelling to.

      If the host university or embassy will accept the University's travel policy, and you require a letter from the University of Adelaide confirming the terms and conditions of the University's travel cover, please send an email to the Legal & Risk Helpdesk with the following information:

        • Your name
        • Your student ID number
        • The name of the host university
        • The dates of your exchange
        • The date that you left Australia
        • The date that you intend to return to Australia
        • If your private travel exceeds 50% of the University exchange, or 28 days in total, confirmation that you have purchased top-up travel insurance from the University's insurer
        • If you purchased other travel insurance for any part of this trip, please provide details 

      For more information please refer to the Student Travel Guide.

    • I will be a Global Learning student going to Chile for a year. Am I covered by University travel insurance for the whole time I am away?

      Not automatically. You are covered for the first 180 days (approximately 6 months) by the University but you will need to purchase Top-Up Insurance for the remainder of your time in Chile at an additional personal cost and prior to departure from Australia.

      To purchase additional cover, complete the Top-Up Travel Proposal Form (included in the Student Travel Insurance Guide) and send it direct to the University Insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) in Adelaide. AJG will provide you with a quote; once confirmed by you, they will email you policy details and a Tax Invoice for payment.

      The University policy may not provide protection or continue cover for you if you have purchased alternative cover for any part of your trip. You should make an enquiry with AJG before committing to an alternative policy before you leave. The University policy always commences from the time your journey starts (usually in Adelaide) and continues for the period noted or until the end of the top-up period purchased.

      For more information please refer to the Student Travel Guide.

    • I am going to a conference in Germany but the cost of my ticket and conference fees have been paid by a research group. Am I still covered under the University travel insurance program?

      Yes - providing that:

      • Your travel has been approved by Head of School
      • Your personal holiday time does not exceed 50% of the total travel time up to a limit of 28 days
    • I am a staff member travelling to Italy. I will be working for 6 weeks and my family is joining me for a 3 week holiday in the USA. Am I covered and is my family covered under the University travel insurance?

      Insurance is provided to University of Adelaide staff while they are undertaking University approved travel. This includes all persons authorised by the University to travel for and on behalf of the University. The cover automatically extends to include spouses, partners and dependent children.

      The University allows for personal time up to 50% of the overall time away to a maximum of 28 days. As your personal time does not exceed 28 days and is within the 50% time frame, you are also covered for the private portion of your travel.

    • Can I arrange travel insurance through an alternative provider for part of my trip?

      No. You cannot swap insurers half way through your trip.

      The University's Travel Insurance policy commences on the day you leave Australia and will expire after 180 days or if and when you exceed the private travel allowance (50% of the overall time away to a maximum of 28 days) if you do not purchase top up cover before you leave. 

      To purchase top up cover complete the top up application form located in the Travel Insurance Guide and send directly to the University's Insurance broker - Arthur J. Gallagher (contact details on the application form).

      The alternative is to purchase private travel insurance from another provider.

    • I have a pre-existing medical condition. Am I still covered by University Travel Insurance?

      Insurance will be available for staff and students who have a pre-existing medical condition, providing the staff member or student has obtained a certificate of fitness to travel from their treating doctor prior to travel. The insurer may ask to see the certificate in the event that a claim is made on the policy.

      The policy excludes claims where the student is travelling against medical advice; travelling with a terminal condition which was diagnosed prior to travel; or travelling when unfit to do so.

    • I am a staff member and I want to travel to a destination that has a Level 3 DFAT warning. What does this mean?

      The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides an indicative rating of the security situation in particular countries (known as DFAT warnings).

      Escalating DFAT warnings may affect the level of cover under the University insurance policy.

      To ascertain a country's DFAT rating check DFAT's SmartTraveller website. Then contact the University's insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) to discuss your travel plans. AJG and the University's insurer will need to confirm your cover before you leave. The University requires Vice Chancellor and President sign off for staff travelling to countries with DFAT travel warning levels 3 & 4 (refer to the Information for Staff Travelling page).

    • I will be hiring a vehicle while on University approved travel. Do I need to purchase excess cover from the vehicle hire company?

      It is common in some overseas countries for vehicle hire companies to offer a cheap hire rate with optional “loss
      damage” or “collision damage” waivers.

      A loss or collision damage waiver is an agreement with a car rental company which releases the renter from
      liability for physical damage to the vehicle in exchange for a fee, subject to the terms of the rental agreement or a state statute if one exists (i.e. the USA).

      The waiver is not insurance. It is a contractual obligation subject to many restrictions (e.g reckless driving,
      driving under the influence). In some contracts, the renter has a choice to buy a full or partial damage waiver.
      The rental agreement typically stipulates that purchasing the damage waiver is not mandatory.

      The University recommends that you buy a full waiver to ensure that (subject to any exceptions set out in the hire agreement) damage to the vehicle will be capped at an agreed price. Without this loss or collision waiver, if you damage the vehicle, you may be liable for the full value of the damage/vehicle.

      If you have an accident, the first $5k of the loss or collision damage waiver excess will be covered by the
      University’s travel insurer.

    • When I was in the USA I had to visit the doctor as I was unwell can I claim this?

      Yes. GP visits and emergency medical and dental can be claimed for under the policy.

      Please refer to the relevant Travel Insurance Guide for instructions on how to make a claim.

    • I had my camera stolen while I was overseas and I paid $600 for the camera. Can I claim for this??

      Yes. However there is deductible (excess) applied of $250 for cameras, computers and other electrical equipment.

      Please refer to the relevant Travel Insurance Guide for instructions on how to claim against the policy.

    • I left a Satellite phone in an unlocked vehicle and it was stolen. The phone was leased. Can I claim the cost of the phone??

      No. The insurer requires that valuable items in care, custody and control, be secured at all times.

    • Who do I contact if I need to make a claim when I'm overseas

      For emergency assistance call Travel Guard Emergency Assistance on +60 3 2772 5641 reverse charges and advise:

      • Your name
      • Policy Name - University of Adelaide
      • Policy Number - 2300110171
      • Your contact number
      • What you need

      A call to the Travel Guard Help Line incurs a charge which attaches to the claim made, but you will not be asked to cover this charge. You are welcome to lodge a claim at any time while you are away. Please refer to the relevant Travel Insurance Guide for instructions on how to claim against the policy.

     

    Need Help?

    Email helpdesklegal@adelaide.edu.au and we will respond within 24 hours.
    Rm G07 Mitchell Building, North Terrace, Adelaide  SA  5005

    Contact us
    Email Us Feedback Form   Call us +61 8 8313 4539
    North Terrace Detail