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Tuesday, 2 December 1986
Page: 3202

Senator PETER BAUME(10.05) —I would like to use the opportunity given to us by Senator Macklin's reference to emergency loans just to place on record some of the difficulties which some universities will face. I speak with a little diffidence. I am a member of the finance committee of a university and we have discussed in the last few weeks how we will try to cope with the matter of loans for students, whose numbers we do not know, who may have difficulty meeting this charge. If the charge is $250 and if we think we have $60,000 available, that gives us a total of 240 loans only which we can make for a body of several thousand newly enrolling, and maybe re-enrolling, students. If that money is to be available one year later-and the problem will recur annually-it is necessary that it be repaid during the year, so the rate of repayment will have to be relatively rapid.

In addition to that, a university is not set up as a lending and collecting body, and it makes sense, therefore, to look at procedures such as going to the university credit union and working through it, as has been done, by the way, for the emergency loans up until now. It looks as if the university may then have to pay a fee to the credit union for each loan that is taken out. I ask the Minister whether she is aware of some of the very considerable administrative difficulties which universities will face in actually putting this in place, and, secondly, of the very real fear-it can only be a fear at this stage, because we do not really know-that the quantum of money available may not be adequate to meet the calls upon us.