ACC30008 Accounting Theory
Summer Semester, 2016
Assignment Information Sheet
Individual or Groups of 2 (from any Class) Assignment (Case) Due 8.00pm, 22 February, 2016
The Victorian (Wonthaggi) Desalination Plant:
A Case Involving Accounting Theory in Action
Angela Tan-Kantor and Christine Jubb
both of Swinburne University of Technology
In 2009, the Victorian Government released the White Paper, “Our Water Our Future: The Next
Stage of the Government’s Water Plan”, including a plan to construct the Victorian Desalination Plant to increase water supply. The plant was built in response to a rising population, threats from climate change (drought) and severe water restrictions. Following on, through a Public Private Partnership (PPP), the State Government contracted the AquaSure consortium to finance, design and build the largest desalination plant in the southern hemisphere. This case examines theories in accounting that can be applied to explain events surrounding the construction of the desalination plant and the application of the existing and proposed new IASB/AASB Conceptual Framework to the way in which its assets are valued and the pricing of water.
Australia is the driest continent on Earth with Australians being the world’s highest consumers of water (Australian Natural Resources Atlas 2000, p.8). Water is an essential component of life and an essential service like other utilities, such as electricity, gas and telecommunications. Australian government bodies take a special interest in the security, sustainability and pricing of water with the bulk of requisite physical assets government-owned and heavy regulation of the water sector. Investment in water supply and wastewater disposal infrastructure (including alternative sources of supply, such as recycling, desalination plants, reducing losses from leakage and overflows) is an important part of government policy to ensure the viability of bulk water supplies from dams.
In 2001-2009, drought conditions were responsible for some of the driest ever circumstances over parts of eastern Australia. During 2009-2012, unexpected heavy rain and flooding occurred, which highlight the challenges faced by governments in managing water and maintaining adequate water supply. In the past, the water industry relied almost exclusively on rain-fed water storages to supply urban and irrigation water needs (Water Services Association of Australia, 2007, p. 9: cited in Topp and Kulys 2012, p. 92). In the early to mid-2000s during the lengthy period of drought, a shift in thinking occurred. The focus shifted from water restrictions to water supply. During the period to 2012, seawater desalination plants were constructed in all mainland Australia State capitals to service urban populations in southeast Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Western Australia. Due to the drought “breaking” in 2009 in the eastern states, Victoria and New South Wales are the only two states that have not had to order water from their desalination plants (Australian Bureau of Meteorology 2015). In Perth, 39 per cent and in Adelaide, 41 per cent of water is sourced from their respective desalination plants (Elmahadi and Hardy 2015).
2.0 Background to construction of Victoria’s desalination plant
2.1 Victoria’s need for water
In 2004 the Victorian Government implemented a long-term plan for Victoria’s water management known as Our Water Our Future. This plan focused on measures to improve water efficiency, however, due to prolonged droughts and low stream flows the significant measures implemented to conserve water (e.g. water restrictions) were considered not sufficient to meet demand. There were unprecedented low inflows to water storage, resulting in a drop from 28.5 per cent of capacity in 2007 to a 25 year low of 25.6 per cent by late 2009. For Victoria, the historical low water catchment is significant given that 80 per cent of the water supply is sourced from rainfall and river systems (surface water), 14 per cent from recycled water, 2 per cent from groundwater and 0.2 per cent from stormwater and rainwater (Pricewaterhouse Coopers 2010, p.
As a consequence of the low storage levels, the focus shifted to projects that would increase Victoria’s water supplies. Future investment in new water infrastructure was required to meet the increased demand and population growth (Palmer & Porter 2012). The Victorian Chamber of Commerce, Victoria’s most influential employer group, was lobbying for the construction of a desalination plant to assist local businesses (Millar & Schneiders 2011, p. 9). The group claimed that lack of certainty in Victoria due to drought conditions had caused business to consider relocating to either New South Wales or New Zealand. Higher than expected growth in the Victorian population and the economy caused increased water demand. In response, the Victorian Government released the Victorian Water Plan 2009 (Our Water Our Future: The Next Stage of the Government’s Water Plan) with a focus on increasing water supply. One initiative announced to augment Melbourne’s and other regional water supply systems was construction of a seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant on the Bass Coast in Wonthaggi, a suburb located in the southeast region of Victoria (Engineers Australia 2010, pp. 61-62).
2.2 Desalination Plant
In Victoria, the construction of the desalination plant was the first decision made to invest in new sources of water supply, specifically investment in an alternative source of water independent of climate. The plant was built to counteract the effects of a rising population, threats from climate change and severe water restrictions. The Wonthaggi desalination plant is Australia’s largest desalination plant and represents one of the largest seawater desalination projects undertaken worldwide (AquaSure 2013, Schneiders 2011, p. 1; Schneiders & Millar 2011, p. 1). The contract to construct and operate the plant was awarded to the AquaSure Consortium. Construction of the desalination plant began in September 2009, and the plant commenced operations on 17th November 2012.
The Wonthaggi desalination plant is built on a site of 500 metres or 1,600 feet inland from the shore. The pipe connecting the plant to Melbourne’s water supply system is of sufficient size to cater for a plant upgrade from 150 billion litres of water per annum (411 million litres per day) to 200 billion litres per annum (548 million litres per day), a volume that would have accommodated approximately one-third of Melbourne’s water needs in 2009. Under the arrangements, the State was to provide the land and undertake community consultation for the plant. AquaSure was given a 32 year lease on a massive strip of coastal land at the cost of $1, in addition to a section of crown land leased at a cost of $1 500 for three years. A $1 fee was incurred for the 27 year rental of pipe built for the project. The Government purchased 263 hectares of farm land, residential land and tourist accommodation as part of the footprint for the plant. The cost was estimated to be $10 million in 2009 (Ker 2009).
2.2.2 Contractual Arrangements
On the 30th July 2009 the State of Victoria and AquaSure entered into a thirty year project deed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP), taking the form of a build, operate and transfer model for the desalination plant. Under the project deed, at the end of the PPP the project assets will be transferred to the State at no additional cost. Currently the State leases the plant from AquaSure, with the arrangement administered by the Department of Environment and Primary industries (DEPI) with the lease liability offset by a sub-lease agreement between DEPI and Melbourne Water Corporation. In the 2015 Melbourne Water Annual report, the present value of the future lease payments was recorded as $4.26 billion.
The State contracted with a single entity AquaSure to deliver all aspects of the project. AquaSure Pty Ltd and related entities were specifically incorporated for the project. AquaSure then subcontracted its design, construction, operation and maintenance obligations for the plant. The State was responsible to acquire the site and certain other land, pipeline and power easements. The arrangements are that AquaSure will operate and maintain the plant until September 2039. Thereafter handover of the plant will occur where the maintenance and the operation of the plant for the remainder of its anticipated 50 years of useful life (until 2062/ 2063) is the responsibility of Melbourne Water. Ownership until this time is with AquaSure.
The State, through Melbourne Water, has an obligation to make monthly service payments as long as the desalination plant is maintained by AquaSure (Essential Services Commission 2013, pp. 8-9). The service payments have both a security element and a usage element. The security element is to ensure that AquaSure maintains the plant so that it is capable of delivering 150gl of water per annum at the required quality; and the usage payment relates to the volume of water actually delivered to the State each month. As part of the supply contract between the Melbourne Water and AquaSure, ‘non-binding’ forecasts are to be made by April 1 each financial year as to whether water is to be ordered from the plant (Millar & Schneiders 2012, p. 3; Essential Services Commission 2013, pp. 5-7). Also included in the contract is a commitment that the State will buy up to 150 billion litres of water a year when Melbourne's dams are less than 65 per cent full.
Under the agreement, Melbourne Water has the following financial obligations (Auditor General’s Report 2011-12):
• pay all monies payable by the State to the consortium under the Project Deed
• pay $319.477 million to the State for the right to acquire the residual interest in the asset that reverts to State ownership at the end of the project term
• reimburse DEPI for ongoing project management costs that the department incurs in managing the contract on behalf of the State over the period of the contract.
3.0 Water Pricing
3.1 Infrastructure assets In Australia, water infrastructure assets are valued in different ways for different purposes. An asset value is needed as the basis for determining regulated water prices, asset management and replacement programs and determining the carrying values and impairment testing for annual financial reporting purposes. The arrangements used for price setting and financial reporting purposes follow.
1. Price setting - the regulatory asset base is used for price-setting purposes. The asset valuation technique used for setting water prices in Australia is the deprival value methodology (National Water Commission 2010). This method involves calculating the cost to the business that it would incur, and the revenue it would forgo, if the business was deprived of the asset.
2. Financial reporting - the current practice adopted by Australian for-profit water businesses in the determination of the ‘fair value’ of water infrastructure assets for financial reporting purposes is the cost approach, specifically the revaluation model of fair value on the basis of depreciated replacement cost. This approach has been adopted by Sydney Water (Sydney Water, Annual Report 2013, p. 80) and South Australia Water (South Australia Water, Annual Report 2013, p. 13). Tasmania Water adopted the (historical) cost base approach (Tasmania Water, Annual Report 2013, p. 35). Other major water businesses, such as Melbourne Water (Melbourne Water, Annual Report 2013, p. 95) and South East Queensland Water (South East Queensland, Annual Report 2013, p. 87) adopt a revaluation model of fair value determined on the basis of income approach. There is no guidance in Australian Accounting Standards as to whether these methods are accepted equally, how to apply each of the methods or in what circumstances to apply the methods.
The other accounting issues in relation to asset valuation of water businesses are the problems associated with long-life assets and lumpy (sunk) investments. The outlay of the investment in water infrastructure cannot be recouped by re-selling the assets for alternative use. Investment decisions in water infrastructure are considered irreversible. In its price review, the Queensland Government acknowledged the fact that because many infrastructure assets are repaired and maintained, these assets may have an indefinite life, which needs to be taken into account in practice (Queensland Government 1999, p. 9). Depreciation costs and the estimated useful life of the asset have little resemblance to the economic value of the assets, such as the wear and tear of the assets through use, and no direct relationship with future cash flows generated by an asset in its normal use. The desalination plant comprises many assets. A requirement of the Project Deed is that the assets be designed to achieve specified useful lives which vary depending on the nature of the asset. For example, the useful life of the transfer pipelines, tunnels, shafts and concrete structures is 100 years, while that of the building is 50 years.
3.2 Pricing of water
In Victoria, the water supply industry has experienced significant change since 2005 when water prices were regulated by one large government body, the Essential Services Commission (ESC). The price of water varies across different jurisdictions and is set according to a regulatory period of three to five years. The major cost driver in the price of water in Victoria is the desalination plant, with formal commissioning of payments from December 2012. One key issue addressed in the price review for the period, which runs from financial years 2013-2018, is to keep a check on water price rises, in light of the already substantial increase in price imposed over the past five years. Over 80 per cent of the price increase during this period (past five years) was due to commencement of payments for the desalination plant. Of Melbourne Water’s total annual operating expenditure for the regulatory period, approximately 61 per cent was for desalination plant payments. With no desalination water orders placed in 2012/ 2013, the cost in relation to the plant (including interest, operating costs and depreciation) to Melbourne Water was $654 million. Melbourne households’ water bills increased between $167 and $222 per year over the regulatory period of five years. The increased price of water would have been approximately $50 per year if the plant had not been built.
3.2.1 Water Rates
At the commencement of the operation of the plant in 2012, the regulator (ESC) authorised the water retail businesses (Melbourne Water, City West Water, South East Water, Yarra Valley Water and Western Water) to collect approximately $230 million in 2011-12 and $460 million in 2012-13 in rates to cover estimated costs in relation to the plant. The completion of the plant ran behind schedule and the amount required for construction was substantially less than had been allowed for in water prices. The over-collected payments from customers to cover costs in relation to the plant resulted in the implementation of a prize freeze (customers pay less on their bills) starting from 1 July 2012 to return the unrequired payments to customers. Water businesses offered rebates on customers’ bills to speed the return of funds to customers from early 2013. The rebates align with the unrequired contribution towards desalination costs built into individual customer’s water bills. Another form of refunds included special payments to customers who had moved out of the State and deceased estates, which were not part of the price freeze and rebate system.
Required: Case Questions
You are asked to prepare a response to the case study questions below. The questions require you to research the relevant International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB), the Conceptual Framework CF 2013-1 and most recent (June 2015) Exposure Draft (ED264) Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting ED 264 , , as well as supporting documents published to accompany the Framework, specifically the IASB’s Basis for Conclusions and other applicable International/ Australian Accounting Standards . Include appropriate citations for relevant IFRS/ IASB/ AASB guidance or financial data used, as well any other sources used in your response.
The tasks assume an intermediate level of accounting theory knowledge as well as knowledge of basic accounting terminology . The assignment can be commenced after coverage of Topic 4 (Chapter 5 Deegan 4e) in which the Conceptual Framework features, but coverage of Topics 7 and 8 is required in order to be able to apply the required theories. It is expected that you will use at least four scholarly research articles from journals included in the Australian Business Deans’ Council (ABDC) 2013 list to support your application of relevant theories to the case questions.
Your response is to be written as a report of 1,500 words (plus or minus the usual 10 per cent) to the Federal Treasurer that addresses the following questions, not necessarily in the sequence listed below. That is, you are to structure your report in the way that you see fit, being sure to include content that addresses the following questions:
Apply either the normative or managerial perspective of Stakeholder Theory to explain why Australia’s State Governments were concerned about the lengthy drought experienced in the early 2000s, leading to investment in or construction of desalination plants in the major cities in Australia.
In Australia, the investment in desalination plants is substantial . The period to 2012 witnessed the construction of large, world-scale seawater desalination plants in all mainland Australian State capitals to service urban populations in southeast Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Western Australia. Since the end of drought in Australia, all desalination plants have been used with the exception of the two desalination plants in Victoria and New South Wales. To date, no water has been ordered from these two plants. Discuss wh at accounting theory or theories (other than Stakeholder Theory) can be used to justify State Governments’ decisions to invest considerable amounts of money (billions of dollars) in desalination plants across Australian State capitals.
Water supply is regarded as having natural monopoly characteristics. Water consumers cannot change water provider. That is why water supply is subjected to economic regulation of prices and hence of revenue to suppliers. In Australia, water supply and w astewater businesses (such as Yarra Valley Water and Melbourne Water) are regulated by State Government-based bodies (such as the Essential Services Commission in Victoria). Provide arguments through the application of specific system-based theories as to why water and water prices are regulated in each State in Australia.
Paragraph 49 of the 2013 Conceptual Framework defines the characteristics an asset must possess to qualify for the definition of an asset. Besides qualifying for the definition of an asset, paragraph 89 of the framework demonstrates that for a transaction or event to qualify for the definition of an asset, the transaction or event must also qualify for the recognition criteria of an asset. That is, an asset is recognised in the balance sheet when it is:
(i) probable that the future economic benefits will flow to the entity; and (ii) the asset has a cost or value that can be measured reliably.
At paragraph 55, it is stated that the future economic benefits embodied in an asset may flow to the entity in the following four ways. That is:
(a) used singly or in combination with other assets in the production of goods or services to be sold by the entity;
(b) exchanged for other assets;
(c) used to settle a liability; or
(d) distributed to the owners of the entity.
Explain with the application of (a) to (d) above how future economic benefits embodied in the desalination plant (asset) flow to AquaSure. Demonstrate by applying the Conceptual Framework and the ED 264 Exposure Draft how the desalination plant might or might not qualify for the definition and measurement of an asset.
Several asset valuation techniques are used by major water businesses in Australia, resulting in different values for the same group of assets. Asset valuation impacts the level of investment in water infrastructure and ultimately the price of water. What is your view on the application of different asset valuation techniques and the effects these have on the financial statements of these water businesses?
The following major business transactions in connection with the desalination plant occurred. In each situation, identify whether the relevant accounting assumptions or principles have been violated. If you believe that the assumptions or principles have been violated, discuss what should have been adhered to.
(i) At the time of construction of the desalination plant, AquaSure Consortium, the private consortium that built and operates the plant was given a 32 year lease on a massive strip of coastal land at the cost of $1. Another section of crown land was leased to the consortium for $1 500 for three years. A 27 year rental of pipe built for the project incurred a $1 fee. The cost of 263 hectares of farm land, residential land and tourist accommodation purchased by the Government as part of the land for the plant and estimated at $10 million was not added to the initial cost of the plant in the books of AquaSure Consortium.
(ii) Comment on the accounting treatment in the books of Melbourne Water and the four water (retail) businesses of the refund of the over-payments to consumers to cover the costs of the desalination plant. Access to Melbourne Water’s annual reports is not required.
What items should be included in the initial cost to be assigned to the desalination plant and the cost to be recorded in the balance sheet of AquaSure? For example, included in the cost of the desalination plant is a strip of coastal land, a section of crown land leased and a 27 year rental of pipe built for the project. Apply the appropriate accounting standard(s) and existing and proposed IASB/ AASB Conceptual Framework to support your answer. Calculation of actual figures is not required.
AquaSure 2013, ‘The Victorian Desalination Plant’, viewed 26 January 2014, http://www.aquasure.com.au/history
Auditor General’s Report 2011-12 http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/publications/2012-13/20121114AFR/20121114-AFR.html
Australian Accounting Standards Board 2009, Property, Plant and Equipment, AASB 116, Melbourne.
Australian Accounting Standards Board 2009, Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements, Melbourne.
Australian Accounting Standards Board 2011, Fair Value Measurement, AASB 13, Melbourne. Australian Accounting Standards Board 2015, Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting, ED 264, Melbourne.
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology 2015, Climate Resilient Water Sources, viewed 7 August, 2015, http://www.bom.gov.au/water/crews/
Australian Natural Resources Atlas 2000, Water Resources in Australia, Melbourne.
Deloitte Australia, 2010, Economic regulation of the Australian water sector: past, present and future, Melbourne.
Deegan, C 2014, Financial Accounting Theory, McGraw Hill, Melbourne.
Elmahadi, A. and Hardy, M. 2015, The role of water in Australia’s uncertain future, The Conversation, August 2nd.
Engineers Australia 2010, 2010 Victorian Infrastructure Report Card, viewed 28 June 2013.
Essential Services Commission 2013, Recovery of Desalination Security Charges, Melbourne.
Ker, P 2009, True cost of desal plant concealed, The Age, 12 December, Melbourne Millar, R & Schneiders, B 2011, The price of a drink, The Age, 12 December, Melbourne Melbourne Water 2012, Annual Report, Melbourne.
National Water Commission 2010, National Water Initiative Pricing Principles, Canberra, NWC.
Palmer, N & Porter, M 2012, Desalination plants - and then the rains came!, viewed 15 June 2013. http://desalination.edu.au/2012/11/desalination-plants-and-then-the-rains-came/
PricewaterhouseCoopers 2010, Review of Urban Water Security Strategies, viewed 10 June 2014. http://www.pwc.com.au/consulting/assets/publications/Infrastructure-Aust-Report-Jun10.pdf Queensland Government 1999, Assessment of Queensland Rail Access Undertaking: Second Submission by the Queensland Government, Brisbane.
Schneiders, B 2011, ‘A year late and a financial disaster: Desal companies come clean’, The Age, 28 October, Melbourne.
Schneiders, B & Millar, R 2011, ‘Desal plant debacle for builder Massive project set to miss deadline’, The Age, 6 April, Melbourne.
South Australia Water, 2013 Annual Report, Adelaide.
South East Queensland Water, 2013, Annual Report, Brisbane.
Sydney Water, 2013, Annual Report, Sydney.
Tasmania Water 2013, Annual Report, Hobart.
Topp, V & Kulys, T 2012, Productivity in electricity, gas and water: Measurement and Interpretation, Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper, Canberra.
Scholarly Journal Articles
Some students find reading scholarly journal articles very difficult. YouTube clips that help with this can be found on Blackboard under ‘Assignments’. Additionally, prior semester’s assignment requirements and exemplar assignments are available on Blackboard. Writing support materials are also available on Blackboard. Remember that it is the journal titles that are listed in the ABDC list, not the articles. You need to make sure that the journal(s) in which the articles you want to use are published are on the ABDC list. Find relevant articles first, using the Library Database ‘Business Source Complete’, identify the journal title from which the article comes and then make sure this journal title appears on the ABDC list. This list is a way of ensuring that the articles you choose come from peer reviewed, scholarly journal titles.
Learning outcomes addressed by the assignment.
The assignment is designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop the following learning outcomes:
1 with regard to your accounting theory knowledge, the assignment provides you with the opportunity to develop your understanding and ability to apply several topics included in the Unit;
2. with respect to generic skills, the assignment provides you with the opportunity to develop your ability to research and analyse complex issues, to formulate well-reasoned and coherent arguments, to reach well considered conclusions, and to develop your written communication skills, including the conventions of referencing at university.
You are to aspire to the highest standard of work with respect to both the content and presentation of the Report. The Harvard referencing system is to be used as per Swinburne
Library guidelines available at http://www.swinburne.edu.au/lib/researchhelp/harvard_style.html.
Marks will be deducted where the Harvard system is not used appropriately. Please note that Wikipedia is not an appropriate source to reference for an academic Report such as this. The Library holds sessions on referencing technique.
LODGEMENT: You must submit your assignment via the Turnitin facility available under the Assessment Blackboard menu item no later than February 22, 2016 at 8.00pm. No hard copy is required to be submitted but students must keep an electronic or photocopied version of their assignment for evidentiary purposes. The file name should be Surname1_Surname2 (in the case of a submission by two students). Please make sure the same person submits to Turnitin for both draft(s) and final versions. Please note that Turnitin takes at least 24 hours to return originality/similarity reports on second and subsequent submissions and can take some hours to return these reports even for first submission. To avoid Turnitin including Cover Sheets as part of the originality/similarity score, please submit Cover Sheets in a separate Turnitin facility available under Assessment.
MAXIMUM MARKS: 20 Marks toward the final assessment. The assignment will be marked out of 100. The rubric for marking is at page 17 of this document. Assignments will be marked to the same standard regardless of whether one or two students are involved in the submission. When working in pairs, students are expected to contribute equally. On this basis, each student responsible for a submission is provided the same mark. Where equal contributions are not forthcoming, the Convenor should be informed in a timely way. If working in pairs, do not wait until the due date to find out your partner has failed to contribute. Make sure you communicate with each other regularly and inform each other of any issues.
WORD COUNT: the body of the Report should not exceed 1,500 words (+/- 10 per cent) (excluding title page, references and executive summary but including footnotes, endnotes and appendices). Please provide a word count on the cover sheet.
A report format is required for this assignment. In a report, the Executive Summary should provide an overview of the whole report, including any recommendations. This is a ‘thinking’ assignment and what is expected is the personal view of individual students’ based on research and the evidence that has been sourced. Further, an assignment which presents more quotes than constructive analysis and argument may be heavily penalised.
SUGGESTED REPORT STRUCTURE
1. Title Page
2. Contents Page
3. Executive Summary (which provides an overview of the whole report)
4. Introduction and Purpose
5. Responses to specific task using appropriate headings and sub-headings
This assignment is an important assessment component of this Unit and as such the assignment must be properly researched and professionally presented. The assignment should also:
• Be all your own (individual submissions) or your group’s (pairs) work
• Be word-processed (printed), and have 1.5 spacing for clarity; a high standard of presentation is expected
• Have a cover sheet (submitted to a separate Turnitin facility under Assessment to avoid inclusion in similarity score) with all relevant details, including:
- student name, student number, class leader’s name
- Unit name and code
- date of submission
• Contain correct referencing, using the Harvard system.
• Include a list of references (alphabetical by first author’s surname) adequately referencing your sources (in-text references should only refer to the surname of the author/authors and the year of the publication).
• The assignment gives you autonomy in deciding how you want to relate the scholarly research articles of your choice to the task.
• In using research articles, your comments and insights are more important than just describing what the article is about.
• You need to do all this within the word count of 1,500. Therefore, think about how you will weight your emphasis and how headings and sub-headings can help you remain succinct.
• Remember this is NOT a literature review. Please do NOT merely reproduce the contents of articles. Assignments that are excessive in their use of ‘quotes’ (even when appropriately referenced) are in danger of demonstrating inadequate original thought.
• It is a good idea to prepare a plan or a skeleton of the report and include brief points, before you start writing. This will help you to keep the report organised.
• Keep it simple. It is much better to discuss a few points in detail rather than discussing many points at a surface level.
• Please make sure that you do a good job of proof reading and editing. Poor grammar, spelling and expression will cost you marks and these marks are lost quickly. This is especially important when working in pairs. The Assignment should read as though it is written by one person, even though it may not have been.
• Please post your questions on Blackboard Discussion Forum so that the Unit Convenor can clarify issues (there is a separate thread for assignment discussion).
• Once you have created a draft, you can discuss with Class Leaders/Convenor. Note that they cannot/will not read drafts or give specific feedback – only guidance on the approach.
• There are materials available to assist with reading journal articles and writing (under Writing Support tab) on Blackboard. Appointments can be made with Learning and Academic Support services for additional support. An additional Discussion Board tab is provided to communicate with a Learning and Academic Support services person.
• Past exemplar assignments (on a very different Assignment task) are available in Blackboard to demonstrate the standard of cohesive argument, flow, editing etc. required to receive a high distinction.
Students are reminded to review the University policy on plagiarism.
The University uses the Turnitin tool. This is an effective tool to reduce plagiarism. Students should self-check their assignments prior to final submission. Documentation on the use of this tool will be posted on Blackboard. This is a matching and not a punitive tool. The default setting allows every student to check draft submissions, but you should be aware that the closer to the deadline you use Turnitin, the longer it may take to receive a report. Upon receiving feedback from Turnitin, you should amend your assignment to ensure that it is -Plagiarism Safe- before submitting the final version. Please see the Unit Outline for additional information on plagiarism.
Assignment marking criteria: rubric
Criteria No pass Pass
60-69% Distinction 70-79% High distinction 80-100%
Editing, grammar, punctuation, roleplaying, structure Did not meet criteria. Acceptable standard of presentation with clear communication. Good standard of presentation, including editing, grammar, punctuation, roleplaying and structure. Clear communication of ideas. High standard of presentation, including editing, grammar, punctuation, roleplaying and structure. Excellent communication of ideas. Excellent standard of presentation, including editing, grammar, punctuation, roleplaying and structure.
Outstanding communication of ideas.
(10%) Did not meet criteria. Acceptable summary of the key points of the report. Some points missed. Good summary of the key points of the report. Excellent summary of the key points of the report. Clearly worded. Outstanding summary of the key points of the report. Clear and concise.
Quality of response to assignment task
Research, logic and coherence of argument Did not meet criteria. Basic reference to relevant sources linked to Unit content. Some evidence of a coherent argument throughout the report.
Clear research supported by relevant sources linked to Unit content. Linkage between the theories and assignment scenario. Coherent argument throughout the report. Significant research supported by relevant sources linked to Unit content. Clear linkage between theories and assignment scenario, supported by relevant examples. Clear and coherent argument throughout. Outstanding research supported by relevant sources linked to Unit content. Detailed linkage between the theories and assignment scenario, supported by clear and strong examples and arguments throughout the report.
Quality of conclusion
(10%) Did not meet criteria. Acceptable conclusion providing key findings and recommendations. Some points missed. Good conclusion, providing the key findings and recommendations of the report. Excellent conclusion, drawing together the key findings and
recommendations of the report.
Clearly worded. Outstanding conclusion, drawing together the key findings and
recommendations of the report.
Clear and concise.
Quality of referencing
(10%) Did not meet criteria. Inappropriate referencing technique. Use of sources mostly cited in text and referenced appropriately at end of report. Use of sources mostly cited correctly in text and referenced correctly according to
Harvard style. Use of all sources cited correctly in text and referenced correctly according to