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Thursday, 11 November 1976
Page: 2636

Mr LIONEL BOWEN -The amendments refer to clauses 7 and 12 which read in part:

Clause 7.

(3)   At any time, and from time to time, during the year to which this Act applies, but subject to sub-section (4), the Commonwealth Education Minister may, at the request of the State Education Minister for a State, direct that this Act has effect as if the amounts specified in columns 2 and 3 of Schedule 1 opposite to the name of the State were varied in accordance with the direction, and, where the Commonwealth Education Minister gives a direction with respect to the variation of those amounts, then, for the purposes of this

Act (including this sub-section and sub-sections (2) and (4) ), there shall be deemed to have been specified in that Schedule (as from the commencing day), in substitution for those amounts, the amounts as so varied.

Clause 12.

(2)   The financial assistance to a State constituted by a payment of moneys under sub-section (1) (in this sub-section referred to as the "relevant financial assistance") is granted on the conditions that-

(a)   the relevant financial assistance will, as soon as is practicable, be applied by the State, according to the respective needs of the schools concerned, for the purpose of meeting recurrent expenditure in respect of the year to which this Act applies in connexion with government primary schools and government secondary schools in the State and, in particular, will ensure that such part of the relevant financial assistance as is not less than the amount specified in column 2 of Schedule 3 opposite to the name of the State is applied in respect of recurrent expenditure in relation to migrant education provided at those schools;

I move:

(1)   In clause 7, sub-clause (3), after "State", insert "but only after consultation with the Schools Commission and report to the Parliament,".

(2)   In clause 12, after paragraph (a) of sub-clause (2), insert the following paragraph: (aa) after consultation with the Schools Commission, the Commonwealth Education Minister may permit the allocation of a specific amount from a school's allocation to be spent at the. discretion of the school board;

Clause 7 as it stands allows a variation of the amounts specified in Schedule 1 by agreement between the Commonwealth Minister and a State Minister. It leaves the Schools Commission right out of that. We do not think that is proper. We consider it is fair and reasonable that at all times the Schools Commission should be consulted and further that this Parliament, which is responsible for the allocation of funds, should be informed and a report should be made to it.

Likewise, in respect of the amendment to clause 12 where there can be recurrent expenditure and there can be the suggestion that variations could apply to that expenditure in respect of Schedule 3, we are saying that there ought to be some provision to permit the allocation of a specific amount from a school's allocation to be spent at the discretion of the school board. We believe that it gives some community involvement. This is a matter that we have raised before. Lip service has been paid to it on the basis that the statement that the Minister for Education (Senator Carrick) made on 4 November welcomes this sort of arrangement. We believe that some specific weight should be given to advice in respect of the allocation of funds.

I do not wish to delay the Committee further because the matter I am raising was the subject of discussion in the cognate second reading debate. But we urge that the amendments be agreed to. I might indicate that, whilst we strongly urge that the amendments be agreed to, we will not be putting the Committee to the difficulty of having a division.

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