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Wednesday, 28 February 1973
Page: 32

Mr FitzPATRICK - My question is directed to the Minister for Education. I ask: What is an isolated child from the point of view of the new and very welcome scheme to assist in the education of isolated children? What allowances are available and how does the means test apply? Are handicapped isolated children eligible if they must attend schools for the handicapped?

Mr BEAZLEY (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Education) - Handicapped children are eligible for assistance under the isolated children's scheme if they have to attend schools for the handicapped. An isolated child is one who because of the geographical isolation of his home does not have reasonable daily access to a government school offering courses at the appropriate level, namely secondary school if he is a secondary school child and primary school if he is a primary school child. The allowance for all children is $350 a year regardless of any means test, and that allowance is also made to a child who does not leave home but is having tuition as an isolated child at home. Above that allowance of $350 is a further allowance of $350 subject to a means test. The adjusted family income at which the means test commences to operate is $4,200 a year, but that rises by $450 a year for every other dependent child. So if there is another dependent child the means test would not begin to operate until $4,650. If there were another 2 children it would not begin to operate until $5,100. Above that is a discretionary allowance which is actually taken from a similar allowance constructed in relation to allowances for the education of Aborigines under certain circumstances - that is, $150 for clothing, $50 for books and between $26 and $104 for pocket money according to the age of the child concerned. It is anticipated that many of those who would be eligible for the full $700 under the means test would also be eligible for the further allowance.

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