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Tuesday, 31 March 1987
Page: 1521

Senator NEWMAN —I ask the Minister for Education: What is the estimated cost to the Government of the $250 tertiary education administration fees being paid by the Government for Australian Capital Territory teachers attending courses? How many Australian Capital Territory teachers are receiving this benefit from the Government and how many of them are at the same time in receipt of wages? Why is the Government paying these fees in view of the Minister's comments in this place on the ability to pay of public servants and others in the work place? On what principle is the Government paying these fees? Has it any intention of expanding payment to other Commonwealth employees? Will the Government also pay the fees for those nurses throughout Australia who are struggling part time to obtain tertiary qualifications in a profession which is moving to become totally tertiary educated?

Senator RYAN —I would be very interested to know where Senator Newman came by this information-or alleged information-on which she has based her question, because the people who are exempted from administration charge payments are a series of welfare beneficiaries amongst whom people in employment could not be included by definition. The students who have their $250 paid for them are students in receipt of Austudy, and the only students in receipt of Austudy are full time students who meet the family income test. So there is no way that anybody employed as a teacher would be in receipt of Austudy, nor would such a person be exempted from the charge because such a person is not a beneficiary. So, under the policy as it exists, it is not possible for someone employed as a teacher to be having the $250 charge paid through my Department through Austudy. So I would be very interested to hear the basis on which Senator Newman has formed this point of view. She might like to make material available to my office.