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Wednesday, 11 November 1998
Page: 241

Mr SNOWDON (6:53 PM) —I will be very, very brief. I would like to endorse all of the words spoken by my colleague the shadow minister, thereby obviating the need for me to say a lot. But I do want to make a very quick reference to the Northern Territory University.

The fact is that when I was first elected to this place in 1987, on the first occasion, we fought to have the Northern Territory University properly funded by the federal government. It took some time because of the recalcitrants in the CLP in the Northern Territory and their attitude towards it. But nevertheless it happened. But, since the election of the first Howard government, we have seen the Northern Territory University lose about 20 per cent of its funding. We have seen enrolments fall by 14 per cent, the largest fall of any university in Australia. There appears to be a direct correlation between the funding and the provision of resources and courses.

The Northern Territory University no longer offers courses in English, ceramics, sculpture or cartography. A university not offering English! I ask you, Mr Deputy Speaker: is that reasonable in this day and age as we approach the centenary of our federation, in a community where multiculturalism is so important to us, in a community where English is so important to us? The Northern Territory University has lost 70 staff through rationalisation, 15 of these through involuntary redundancy, which has caused great angst and cost a lot of money.

There is now increased pressure on research staff to support new structures at the expense of research activities. Despite the efforts of local business, the funding gaps left as a result of the malicious policies of the Howard government will not be retrieved by the support of local enterprise; that will only come from government.