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Wednesday, 24 November 1965

Dr MACKAY (Evans) .- Mr. Speaker,I do not wish to add very much at this stage in the debate. I commend the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr.

Luchetti) for the many evidences of sincerity in his speech concerning the development of education and particularly its decentralisation. Unfortunately it is a fact of education today that most countries are unable instantly or in the immediate future to provide either the money or the teachers needed to meet the enormous requirements of modern education. This is certainly true of Australia where the demand for teachers far outstrips the number available. The number will inevitably lag behind the demand for some years to come. Even if all the honours graduates produced by the universities over the last few years were to go into teaching the number of teachers would still be far short of the number made necessary by the population explosion.

Whilst one can agree with the honorable member for Macquarie that it has been, perhaps, something of a disappointment to the people of Bathurst and Wagga that it is not immediately possible for the provision of these colleges envisaged in the Martin report, I think it should also be said that even the mention in the Martin report is something of a tentative or, rather, a suppositious nature. The Martin report says, in paragraphs 6 and 90, that a case exists for the expansion of existing tertiary facilities in Wagga to serve the Riverina area. It goes on to point out that there are, in point of fact, existing tertiary education institutions both in Bathurst and Wagga. In the -ase of Wagga there is a college which is adjacent to an area of some 80 acres held by the New South Wales Government for educational purposes. The Bathurst college, using also the facilities of the teachers and technical colleges, might offer, we are told, courses in the humanities, social sciences, education, science and technology. There is no question whatever that one day this will take place.

I remind the House that when the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) spoke on this question, what he said about the New South Wales Government's decision was that that Government had told us that it had no proposals for these colleges at present. Anyone studying the budget for education in the State of New South Wales, seeing how much it is in excess of the amount being spent by any other State, and seeing also the provisions that are being made for expansion in a most farsighted and realistic way, could not join in anything like censure of a government which does not immediately race ahead to implement all the farsighted proposals that it has. I join with the honorable member for Macquarie in complimenting the Martin Committee on the farsightedness of the recommendations that it has made in its report. I simply want to set the record straight. There is not a decision on the part of the New South Wales Government to close the door on this kind of rural development or decentralisation of education. Far from this, there is a prudent realisation that at the present moment there is not a sufficiency of teaching staff, finance or equipment. 1 am sure that at the earliest possible opportunity there will be the expansion which has been envisaged in the report.

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