CHARLES Sturt University has hit back at Regional Education Minister Andrew Gee's attacks on its financial position and his claim the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) was investigating the university.
The university also claimed Mr Gee had been invited to a briefing on the findings of an independent audit of CSU's finances but had "cancelled the meeting at short notice".
Mr Gee released a media statement on Monday saying a Senate Estimates meeting last week had been told TEQSA was "undertaking an investigation of CSU and indicated that their work would be finalised in 2021".
That claim came after Mr Gee last month used the protection of parliamentary privilege to detail allegations of fraud and mismanagement he said had been raised with him during private conversations and followed months of attacks by Mr Gee over what he calls a lack of transparency in the university's dealings with the communities it serves.
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But a university spokesperson has rejected the claim, saying CSU had not been told of any investigation by TEQSA.
"Charles Sturt is aware of comments made by TEQSA's chief commissioner at Senate Estimates, however, the university has not been notified of any investigation," the spokesperson said.
"We recently provided TEQSA with detailed financial reports up to June 30, 2020 and are not concerned with any matters related to our financial status.
"We will co-operate with TEQSA as we always have and are confident any investigation would validate our financial position once and for all."
The spokesperson said CSU's University Council had received and considered the audit findings at a meeting on September 30 and said the review "broadly confirmed the university's figures and approach were appropriate and accurate".
University Council resolved not to publicly release the full report as it was considered commercial in confidence and instead circulated a summary report of the key findings - a decision criticised by Mr Gee, who is still seeking a copy of the full audit report.
"We note that despite other regional universities facing similar or greater financial challenges than Charles Sturt, the Minister for Regional Education has not made similar requests of those institutions," the spokesperson said.
"We remain concerned that the continued attacks risk significant adverse commercial consequences at a critical stage in our student recruitment cycle and at a time when we are in major commercial negotiations with national and multi-national industry partners."
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