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Friday, 1 May 1987
Page: 2480

(Question No. 5126)

Mr Wright asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education, upon notice, on 23 February 1987:

(1) Has the Minister's attention been drawn to claims by the Queensland Minister for Education that Queensland is still being disadvantaged in the number of tertiary places in that State.

(2) What change has taken place in the tertiary places available to Queensland since 1977.

(3) What action has been taken by the Government to rectify any anomaly in the number of tertiary places in Queensland.

Mr Dawkins —The Minister for Education has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) Yes.

(2) In the period 1977-83 the number of higher education places in Queensland increased by 5,795 places. For the period 1983-86 the increase was 6,201 places to 43,111.

(3) Since coming to office, the Hawke Government has taken steps to increase access to and participation in higher education in all States, but particularly in those States such as Queensland where participation rates have been relatively low for some time. For example, the number of Queensland higher education places is expected to grow by around 22% between 1983 and 1987, compared with the average national growth of 14%.

Amongst the measures taken were those which allowed additional places in engineering and science courses to be provided at Queensland Institute of Technology, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, Queensland Agricultural College and Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education. Other measures allowed for increased opportunities to be made available in business and computing courses at these Colleges and at Brisbane College of Advanced Education. Additionally, provision was made for the University of Queensland to increase its intake into engineering and for a significantly increased intake into a range of courses offered by Griffith University. Funds were also provided to assist in planning a new tertiary institution on the Gold Coast.

In October 1986 Senator Ryan and the Queensland Minister for Education, Mr Lin Powell, announced that a joint Commonwealth/State working party had recommended that university or advanced education courses be made available in TAFE colleges in regional centres in Queensland where no other tertiary institutions exist.

The working party gave highest priority to the areas of Cairns and Mackay, but anticipated that in future years higher education programs might also be made available through TAFE Colleges in places such as Bundaberg, Gympie, Maryborough, Mount Isa, Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast.

TAFE colleges in Cairns and Mackay are taking higher education students from either James Cook University or Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education for the first time this year. These students will then transfer to the main campus of the relevant higher education institution to complete the second and subsequent years of their awards.

The initiatives recommended by the working party, and indeed all the measures outlined above, are consistent with or indicative of the Commonwealth Government's policy of seeking to broaden access to tertiary education while at the same time making the most efficient use of available resources and facilities.