Cheats who sell their services by taking exams or writing essays for university students will face jail time and heavy fines under new laws passed by the Morrison Government that came into effect today.
The legislation makes it an offence to provide or advertise academic cheating services in higher education, which can lead to two years’ imprisonment or fines of up to $100,000.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the growing availability of academic cheating services posed a significant threat to the integrity and reputation of higher education in Australia.
"We have made contract cheating a crime by targeting the people who are making money exploiting Australia’s students," Mr Tehan said.
"The law targets cheating service providers and advertisers – not students. Students caught cheating will continue to face the conduct and disciplinary processes of their individual institution.
"Organised cheating threatens the integrity of our universities and undermines the hard work done by honest students."
The Morrison Government has also provided funding for a new toolkit for universities to help catch students using contract cheating services. The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) toolkit includes a guide to substantiating when contract cheating occurs, benchmarking tools, advice on policy and case studies.
TEQSA will administer the legislation and be involved in injunctions to block cheating services, intelligence gathering and helping providers develop prevention strategies. The integrity unit within TEQSA will play a key role.
TEQSA also recently released a new Academic Integrity Toolkit to support higher education quality assurance agencies to promote, develop and sustain cultures of academic integrity.
Further information can be found at www.education.gov.au/tackling-contract-cheating.