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Tuesday, 9 October 1973
Page: 1746

Mr CALDER (Northern Territory) - I rise to support these three Bills which are being debated together and which will benefit Territory instrumentalities in every way. I refer not only to the Darwin Community College. Other provisions in these Bills will, in other circumstances, benefit various sections of the community. I believe that the estimated completion date of the new college is 3 February 1974. I hope - and the way things are going in Darwin at the moment there is nothing to prevent this - that the contractors will meet that completion date which will enable students to commence at the college in March of next year. The concept of the college, the introduction of it and the finance provided for it were thought out and organised by the previous Government. As the honourable member for Flinders (Mr Lynch) has said, the concept has been followed through by this Government. I am glad to see that it is carrying on with the concept as it was introduced.

This college is the first of its type in Australia. I believe that in America there are about 800 or 1,000 of these community or junior type colleges. Although the courses at these institutions are relatively short when compared with courses at normal tertiary education colleges, the degrees or diplomas achieved at the community colleges are acceptable and enable students to go on to a normal university, if they wish, or to go into a trade, business or whatever they are trained for at the college. In Canada the State of Ontario, I think, instituted some 20 of these colleges in one year, so this concept is not a thing of the past overseas. It is well that we in Australia are getting something like this off the ground. The college at Darwin will be governed by a council which will comprise citizens of Darwin. They will be able to keep a very close watch on the development and programming which will be undertaken by the college.

The proposed studies, which may not have been mentioned by the previous speaker, cover a very wide range which will help all sections of the community into the tertiary education stage. The studies will include anthropology, linguistics, political and Pacific-Asian cultural studies, which I think pertain very much to this part of Australia. Darwin is many thousands of miles from Canberra and many of the interests in which students would be involved may not be experienced by students in other parts of Australia. The Darwin college will be operating in very close co-operation with local business, industry and the people of Darwin by way of organised control. I am looking forward to the establishment of this college. I think we all look forward to it. I think it is a wonderful concept. It will provide a magnificent set of buildings in a very fine area of Darwin.

I want to say a few more things just briefly. Before I sit down I would like to place on record the great respect and thanks of the community for the tremendous job that the Darwin Adult Education Centre has done over the 14 years that it has been in existence. The activities of the adult education centre will be taken over by the college. I take it that they will lead into the community college so, they will not be forgotten. They will be just a part of a greater thing. We all realise what a tremendous job the adult education centre has done over the years.

I believe that the recruitment of staff is going fairly well at the moment. The college needs a staff of something like 140, and 600 applications have been received. Applications closed only today or yesterday. There is tremendous interest in joining the academic and administrative staff of the college, with the exception of the posts of librarians. The library is to be a principal part and an outstanding feature of the college and they have appointed a very able librarian. However, because a lot of colleges and tertiary education centres in the south employ and pay academics as librarians, the Darwin Community College is tending to fall behind in the recruiting of librarians because such people will be recruited and paid as librarians, rather than as academic staff. If there is a shortage of librarians, I hope that this point might be considered.

Including the 500-odd full time students, there are some 3,000 full time and part time students enrolled for daytime courses and about 3,600 enrolled for night classes, yet only stage one of the project is to be completed in March next year. I hope that the Government will continue to plan ahead because it will take 4 years or thereabouts to bring about another increase in the buildings and organisational structure of the college. So I ask the Government to keep a close watch on this situation as the number of enrolments is rather more - in fact, it is considerably more - than was anticipated. It is better in these projects to be in front of such a situation than trying to catch up from behind. As I said, the college should be open by January, February or March of next year. I only hope that the building program proceeds according to schedule.

One thing that was apparent with the Darwin adult education centre was that about 200 children were being looked after at a creche or child minding centre. I do not know whether there is provision for this sort of amenity to be attached to the Darwin Community College. I hope that there will be because, of that enrolment of 3,000 students, many will be young mothers who may not otherwise be able to attend the college. If there is no provision for a creche or child minding centre, I hope that such a proposal will be very seriously considered. With the limited numbers enrolled at the Darwin adult education centre, 200 children were required to be looked after while their parents were attending classes and, with the greater numbers enrolled at the Community College, it surely will be necessary to take some steps, even if it is not in the original plan, to acquire a house in the near neighbourhood to be used as a child minding centre so that these many students will be able to attend the college and not have to turn their backs on courses that otherwise they would have taken. I commend the 3 Bills. I think the fact that superannuation and air accident liability are now covered by the legislation will attract people to apply as teachers in the north. I would only hope that the recruiting program continues as well as it is now going. I support the Bills.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

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