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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2404

(Question No. 1175)

Senator Reid asked the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 3 October 1984:

(1) Is the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs aware that a previously well-attended course, 'Cooking for Health', held at the Woden College of Technical and Further Education (Woden TAFE) had to be withdrawn this year, because of inadequate funding.

(2) Is the Minister also aware that the National Heart Foundation recently distributed copies of 'Heart Health' to all Australian Capital Territory primary schools to supplement existing school health programs.

(3) Will the Minister explain the anomaly of such concern for health at primary school level, while at the same time effectively blocking practical aid to people willing to attend practical courses aimed at increasing health awareness and skills in the community.

(4) Will the Minister ensure that the 'Cooking for Health' course is returned to the curriculum at Woden TAFE next year.

Senator Ryan —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The Woden TAFE College, like the other TAFE Institutions did not receive the allocation sought in the 1983-84 Budget simply because the Government was not able to provide all the funds requested. In these circumstances the College Executive had to decide how best to use the funds available and quite properly elected to give priority to vocational type courses over high cost, short term, non-vocational type courses. The course ''Cooking for Health'' belongs to the second category and accordingly was not offered by the College in 1984.

(2) I am aware that the National Heart Foundation publication 'Heart Health' was distributed to primary schools in the Australian Capital Territory. Actual distribution was at the rate of two manuals per school and was undertaken by Rotary as a community service.

(3) There is no anomaly in this case. The prime function of the TAFE Colleges is to provide vocational training/education. The colleges will respond to requests from the community to design and offer non-vocational courses such as ' Cooking for Health' provided all of the resources required to mount the course are available but vocational type courses must take priority.

(4) The decision must rest with the Executive of the College and will be based entirely on the known resources available to the College at the course planning stage for the 1985 academic year. However, I am sure that every effort will be made by the College to include in its program those courses which were not available during 1984.