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Thursday, 28 February 1985
Page: 336

Senator RYAN —Earlier in Question Time today Senator Baume sought details from me about the Schools Commission's decision to have a pause in processing applications for the non-government capital program. I am able to inform the Senate that the pause came into effect on 6 February. Officers of the Commonwealth Schools Commission met with the national Catholic Education Commission, including all State directors, on 7 February to explain the reasons for the pause. Other interested non-government school organisations were informed by telephone and had reasons for the pause explained to them in that way. Any written inquiries are being responded to by a letter, a copy of which I have with me. In response to Senator Baume's request I now seek leave to table the letter-

Senator Peter Baume —Will you have it incorporated in Hansard?

Senator RYAN —And have it incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-

Letter sent to those with an interest in the pause in the processing of CSC Capital Grants applications.

Thank you for your telegram of 13 February 1985 concerning the pause in processing of applications for capital grants for non-government schools.

The main reasons for the pause were:

(a) the need to formulate new guidelines to take account of the new recurrent funding policies and, in particular, to formulate policies concerned with the assessment of financial need which take account of the allowances for capital expenditure;

(b) the prospect of new policies on the funding of new schools after the New Schools Panel reports later this month;

(c) an urgent need to catch up on work relating to the equity and accountability provisions in the legislation; and

(d) an urgent need to complete work on the new ADP processing system and to implement the new administrative procedures which are inherent in this system.

The Commission is currently consulting with non-government school authorities on the criteria that will be used to identify urgent projects. Provision has been made to process those applications where a delay might seriously disadvantage schools and Directors of the Commission's State Offices have been advised to consult with the appropriate authorities to identify such projects. It is hoped that the processing of grants can be resumed by 1 May 1985 and by this date the new ADP system will be in operation and this will help the Commission to catch up on any backlog of projects resulting from the pause. With the assistance of this system and some redeployment of staff it is anticipated that the backlog will be overcome by the end of the year.

Yours sincerely

Susan Ryan