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Wednesday, 11 November 1998
Page: 234

Ms WORTH (6:24 PM) —I would like to thank the members who have taken part in this debate, the member for Dobell and the member for Herbert. I will perhaps enlighten the member for Dobell on a couple of issues which he raised. I inform him that direct funding to government schools has in fact risen by $200 million since 1996. I further inform him that the minister is the minister not only for education but also for training and youth affairs, very important areas not only for those undertaking formal schooling and higher education but for those who are training for skills they are going to need in the future. The youth affairs portfolio is very important, and any one of us who can raise the image of young Australians is playing an important role.

The member for Dobell raised issues of promised funding of $90 million in the election campaign, and I have to inform him that the government will need to give detailed consideration to election promised funds in the normal budget process and find out the best ways of spending that money.

He also raised issues about the $21 million and whether in fact this was going to be adequate funding for the full service for schools program. Of course, this $21 million is intended to provide supplementary assistance to schools to enable them to effectively meet the needs of students who are likely to return to or remain at school, and it will build on a wide range of programs and initiatives that are already in place.

I remind the member for Dobell that not all students returning to or remaining at schools will require special assistance and services. Many will be catered for by the normal funding arrangements. All students who return to or remain at school will attract general recurrent funding at an amount per student in accordance with government policy. Of course, the needs of students for physical facilities will be taken into account in the assessment for capital funding under the Capital Grants Program. These students may also be eligible to access other special purposes and targeted program funding provided to state and territory education authorities by the Commonwealth.

The member for Herbert mentioned the Youth Allowance Scheme which began on 1 July 1998. Despite attacks from the opposition, this really is a major social policy reform because it provides financial incentives for young people to develop skills that they really do desperately need to improve their chances of finding a job. There has been a lack of balance and fairness between students who were tempted to leave school at a vulnerable age so that they could collect unemployment benefits and those who continued to study and had to work that much harder for it; although at the same time bettering themselves, they were, by comparison, being financially disadvantaged. I commend the member for Herbert for raising these issues. Again, I thank everyone who has taken part in the debate and commend the bill to the parliament.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs De-Anne Kelly) —The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this, the honourable member for Dobell has moved an amendment that all words after `That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The immediate question is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —If no member wishes to consider the bill in detail, I will put the report question forthwith. The question is that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.

Question resolved in the affirmative.