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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 964

Senator PETER BAUME —My question is directed to the Minister for Education. Is there any plan or intention to alter the structure or functions of the Commonwealth Schools Commission in any way? Specifically, is there any plan to transfer any implementation function of the Commission to the Department of Education, together with large numbers of staff? What effect would this have on the Commonwealth Schools Commission?

Senator RYAN —I am not prepared to give a detailed answer to Senator Baume's question. It is certainly the case that I am looking at possible improvements and rationalisations of the resources available to the portfolio and that eventually, I believe, this will involve some changes to the Schools Commission. I would say that the purpose of making any such changes would be to enhance the capacity of the Schools Commission to act as a policy advisory body and a body that carries out extensive consultations with the education community, because I believe in both of those respects-in respect of policy formulation and advice and in respect of extensive consultation-in recent years the Commission has been hampered by having a very heavy and growing burden of administration of policies that have already been decided. Therefore, I hope that shortly I will be able to decide on some changes which will restore to the Schools Commission the very important role that it had in its early days when it was seen as the major source of education policy advice for all matters affecting schools throughout Australia. When I have finalised arrangements I will certainly be pleased to tell Senator Baume and everyone else what they are.