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Thursday, 28 February 1985
Page: 334

Senator REID —My question, which is directed to the Minister for Education, relates to the bans imposed by the Australian Capital Territory Trades and Labour Council on the construction of Radford College. Is it not a fact that construction has been halted by a dispute between other parties, the Australian Teachers Federation and the Government over an issue in which Radford College is involved, namely, the important question of the level of resources available to Australian Capital Territory schools? Did the Prime Minister guarantee before the 1983 election that the College would be built? Will that promise be honoured and, if so, when will the Government clear the obstacles presently preventing the school from being built?

Senator RYAN —It is the case that the TLC currently has a ban on proposed new buildings at Radford College, and that is a ban which our Government is seeking to have lifted. The TLC has given a number of reasons for this ban, and one of them does relate to funding for the Australian Capital Territory Schools Authority. It is my view, and the view of the Government, that it is most inappropriate for the TLC to pursue its concerns about funding for the Australian Capital Territory Schools Authority by way of a ban on a school outside that system. I inform Senator Reid that I, in the company of my colleague Ralph Willis, the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, will be again meeting with the TLC this afternoon, and I am optimistic that we will be able to have discussions which will lead to the lifting of that ban. That will certainly be my intention and the intention of Mr Willis.

With regard to future developments at Radford College, the Prime Minister, both when he was Leader of the Opposition and before the previous election when he was Prime Minister, acknowledged that Radford College had been approved by the Government and that its activities should not be interfered with by industrial action by the TLC. However, I should make it clear that the commitment to Radford College was a commitment to years 7 to 10, for which recurrent funding will be forthcoming at the appropriate level. Radford College has already received a major capital grant and an interest loan subsidy. Any future capital assistance it may seek will be determined according to the relevant criteria. But certainly the provision for years 7 to 10, in terms of the access to recurrent funding, is not in question. I hope that I will be able to report a favourable outcome of my negotiations with the TLC this afternoon.