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Monday, 19 June 2006
Page: 186

Mr HARDGRAVE (Minister for Vocational and Technical Education and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) (8:01 PM) —I fear that the unparliamentary observation by the member for Herbert might in fact be correct—that there could have been a misleading of the chamber! But, either way, I think it is important that each of us comes here with our own little bit of paradise at the back of our minds, even if it satisfies just ourselves!

As for the substantial nature of what the member for Jagajaga has asked, yes, that figure seems to be correct. The question, though, unfortunately underpins the fact that you have not quite worked out, Member for Jagajaga, how this program actually works. Under the process of each of the state governments, there is a requirement for the schools to be registered. Either they are registered as a result of being in a partnership with an existing state owned school or a non-government school, or indeed, as you have suggested in your question, they are registered as a brand new school. All three of those types are in fact part of the network of Australian technical colleges that is being rolled out. But they all have to be registered state by state. As a result of that, they also receive recurrent funding by agreement. Schools that are registered are tied into the school system of that state and have to deliver the curriculum that is required to satisfy whatever the end point of study happens to be in that state—in Tasmania, it is year 10; in most other states it is year 12. At the end of it, they still need to satisfy the state board of studies. They still have to follow the requirements of the state boards as far as the curricula for academic study or indeed technical training are concerned. So the basis of your question is not quite correct—the suggestion that, by some process of osmosis, a school like the one in Townsville, in the member for Herbert’s electorate, might somehow or other be treated differently.

I should add that, on top of the continuing commitment of this government, record amounts of money are going to state governments for the use, in a recurrent sense and also in a capital works sense, of schools. There are record amounts of money going into the private school sector from this government for recurrent expenditure as well as capital works. There is also a vote of money that is going to each of the consortia running the Australian technical colleges, money that goes towards both capital works and additional recurrent expenditure. So, to sum up the answer to the member for Jagajaga’s question, there is additional money. There are additional resources—$351 million over the current quadrennium.