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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 35

Mr FREE (Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training) (4.36 p.m.) —Briefly, I thank those honourable members who have taken part in this discussion on the States Grants (Primary and Secondary Education Assistance) Amendment Bill. In particular, I thank the honourable member for Menzies (Mr Andrews) for his cooperation this afternoon in not forcing this matter to yet another vote. I also thank the honourable member for Dunkley (Mr Chynoweth) for his contribution. He has reinforced this afternoon his reputation as a champion of the cause of public education in Victoria.

  The honourable member for Menzies raised the question of checking the legal position on the attendance of children at schools. I will see that the matter is pursued. It escaped my memory, probably because on 18 December 1993 we were both thinking about other things and wishing we were elsewhere.

  It is not a simple question. The growth of home schooling in some states, particularly in Queensland, involves students never attending a building known as a school. It means that we have to keep a careful eye on the question of attendance—obviously not to the point of checking the attendance of individual students on particular days; but important educational issues as well as important funding issues are involved. Around 40 per cent of the cost of educating a child is accounted for in infrastructure costs, which are not involved in home schooling. I apologise to the honourable member for Menzies. I will ensure that the legal position is checked and that he receives a written response.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.

  Resolution reported; report adopted.