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Monday, 4 June 1984
Page: 2414


Senator REID(3.32) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

I wish to refer to two parts of the report, those dealt with on pages 2 and 6. In the five minutes allocated to me to speak to this report it is not possible to go further than that or to deal with either matter in detail. One matter is that the Canberra College of Advanced Education Council was advised earlier this year that Dr Sam Richardson will retire later this year. On another occasion I will take the opportunity to speak about the contribution of Dr Richardson as the founding Principal of the College. Without the vision and leadership of Dr Richardson I do not think that the college would have achieved the status it has today, that of a college of national esteem. Many parts of the report establish the influence that Dr Richardson has had. I point to the relevance of the courses as seen in surveys as to the number of graduate students who have obtained employment; the college's overseas contacts; the work it does for government; the fact that it is now being used as a model for Australia in the assessment and training of handicapped people; and the many other areas one could go into. The college is used to a large extent by the Commonwealth Public Service for the development of special courses for departments. Many of its near 6,000 students are part time students. Some students are from the Australian Capital Territory, but a very high proportion are students who have come to this college from other parts of Australia.

In a sense, that brings me to the second point that I wish to raise, that is, the report of the Task Force on Implementation of ACT Self Government. The report refers to the future of the CCAE, which now reports to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, and the Australian National University. With respect to the Australian National University, paragraph 12.20 of the report says:

The Australian National University under its Act has dual functions. It has a national role in relation to 'post graduate research and study, both generally and in relation to subjects of national importance to Australia' which is performed through its Institute of Advanced Studies. It also has a local role. The Faculties of the University have a similar role as a State university. The majority of ANU students come from the ACT and surrounding region.

I am not suggesting that the ANU should be included in self-government proposals . I recognise that in other States the colleges of advanced education and the universities are similarly administered. That is why I wonder why it is that the Task Force has come to the view that the CCAE should be part of the self- government of the ACT and the ANU should not. In the chapter headed 'Functions to be Transferred' it is said that the CCAE is:

. . . responsible for the provision of education and training in departments such as science and technology, art, administration, commerce and other fields of knowledge or the application of knowledge and in particular education training appropriate to professional and other groups requiring advanced education; it is solely an ACT function.

I wonder, if the Task Force really went into the role of the ANU and what it does, how it could have come to that conclusion. In many respects, apart from the Institute of Advanced Studies at the ANU, the same things could be said about the college and the ANU. What I am really saying with respect to the future of the CCAE is that I understand that the college was not consulted by the Task Force. How is it that this conclusion could have been reached? I think it is a matter that needs to be reviewed to find out what is best for the college. Can we be assured that the national status that it had acquired will be continued, or is it to be reduced to merely an ACT institution? If that is the case, the college will not be able to fulfil the functions that it now performs. From a funding point of view it is, of course, very important indeed. It is an area of the Task Force report that needs to be examined again and examined most closely and thoroughly.