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Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Page: 5169

Senator KEMP (Minister for the Arts and Sport) (5:09 PM) —We are not supporting this amendment. The request for an amendment to the bill, moved by Senator Stott Despoja on behalf of Senator Allison and the Australian Democrats, is, as Senator Stott Despoja said, to increase capital funding to government schools by some $10 million a year. It is not supported. It is important to note that the Commonwealth already funds capital projects in government schools at a higher per capita rate than in non-government schools. In 2002, government schools will receive approximately $99 per student, while non-government schools will receive approximately $86 per student. As the request for an amendment has financial implications for the federal budget if it is passed in this chamber, it must of course be referred to the House of Representatives. I can assure Senator Stott Despoja that the House will reject this request and the bill will be returned to the Senate unamended. In requesting this amendment on behalf of Senator Allison and the Australian Democrats, Senator Stott Despoja is only delaying the passage of this bill and, as a result, causing unnecessary delay and disruption for those schools waiting on funding approvals in order to commence important building works during the Christmas holidays. We will not be supporting this amendment.