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Monday, 21 March 2011
Page: 1331

Senator McLUCAS (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers) (5:42 PM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

The Schools Assistance Amendment (Financial Assistance) Bill 2011 makes amendments to the Schools Assistance Act 2008.

The Bill amends the Schools Assistance Act 2008 to extend the existing funding arrangements, including indexation arrangements, until the end of 2013 and for Grants for Capital Expenditure until the end of 2014. This will ensure funding certainty for all Catholic and independent schools beyond the current duration of the Act.

The Bill confirms the Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring certainty of investment in all Australian schools.

The Government is conducting a Review of Funding for Schooling due to report in 2011. The Government must maintain an ability to provide certainty for the non-government sector to commit to expenditure in 2013 and, in respect of capital grants, until the end of 2014, while the Review of Funding for Schooling is taking place.

By amending the Schools Assistance Act 2008, the Australian Government will be able to continue to provide capital grants to supplement funds provided by the state and territory education authorities and funds provided by non-government school authorities until 2014.

The amendment provides an opportunity to continue good infrastructure projects for our schools. It will enable the Government to continue to work with school communities, parents and families in the non-government school sector to build on the partnerships that are so critical to improving outcomes for Australian primary and secondary students.

The Australian Government seeks to improve educational outcomes and assist in the provision of school facilities, particularly in ways that contribute most to raising the overall level of educational achievement of all Australian school students.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Kroger)—In accordance with standing order 111, further consideration of this bill is now adjourned to the first day of the next period of sittings commencing on 10 May 2011.