The Foreign Arrangements Scheme commenced on Tuesday 10 March 2021. The scheme introduces a formal notification requirement that applies to foreign arrangements entered into by all Australian state and territory entities, including public universities.
The Scheme is established by the Commonwealth legislation Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020 (the Act).
Under the Act, the Minister for Foreign Affairs is authorised to declare an arrangement that the University enters into with a foreign entity to be invalid and unenforceable, or require that it be varied or terminated. This can only happen where the Minister determines that it would adversely affect Australia’s foreign relations or be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy.
If the Minister exercises their power to terminate or vary an arrangement, this could have adverse consequences, e.g. where the University or a counterparty has already performed aspects of the arrangement, or it has committed resources or expenditure in anticipation of the arrangement proceeding.
Updated contract templates
To address this risk, the Legal and Risk Branch is reviewing and updating the provisions in its standard form contracts.
If you are entering into a new arrangement with a foreign entity, please ensure you are using the latest contract template and contact the Legal and Risk Branch to request legal review of contracts which have been prepared by a foreign entity.
Further information about the Scheme and notification requirements can be found on the Foreign Arrangements Scheme webpage.