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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 99

(Question No. 594)


Mr Nugent asked the Minister for Industry, Technology and Regional Development, upon notice, on 16 November 1993:

  (1) What direct monetary assistance or benefit is available on an individual basis to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders under programs operating within the Minister's portfolio.

  (2) Which forms of assistance or benefits are not means tested.

  (3) How many persons received each form of assistance or benefit in 1992-93.


Mr Griffiths —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

  (1) The Industry, Technology and Regional Development portfolio administers programs which aim to increase the international competitiveness of Australian manufacturing and service industries and to develop the nation's science and technology capabilities and infrastructure. While many of these programs provide assistance to large and small enterprises, very few provide support to individuals. Where this occurs, assistance is often available to all elements of the Australian community. There has only been one program identified in the portfolio where direct monetary assistance or benefit is available on an individual basis to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. This is a scholarship program administered by CSIRO in Queensland which seeks to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the year 11 and 12 level interested in pursuing a career in science and mathematics. The scholarships provide direct monetary assistance of $500 per annum for a maximum of two years with a further benefit of work experience for one year after secondary education is completed.

  (2) Testing or assessing the eligibility of participants for program assistance or benefits is a normal part of program procedures. Industry Technology and Regional Development portfolio programs have various criteria against which any participant is assessed prior to or during a project or program. However, no means testing is involved. The eligibility criteria relating to the scholarships mentioned above require the student to be an Aborigine or Torres Strait Islander, to attend a high school, be studying a science or maths-related subject, and show interest in pursuing a career in science or mathematics.

  (3) In 1992-93, three Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders benefited from work experience, and four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from years 11 and 12 received direct monetary assistance of $500 each.