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Thursday, 20 May 1965

Senator GORTON (Victoria) (Minister for Works and Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and. Research) (1:37 AM) . - I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill extends for the next three financial years the grants for State technical colleges and schools first given by authority of the States Grants (Science Laboratories and Technical Training) Act 1964. As with the science grants £5 million will be provided each year and the distribution between States remains unchanged. These grants are given in an area where independent schools do not operate, and the grants are therefore confined to State institutions. They are intended to facilitate the training of young men and women in trades schools and technical colleges. Trades schools include schools of automotive engineering, printing schools and schools teaching carpentry and joinery and many other skills.

Experience of the first year of this programme has indicated that it fills a most important place in the Australian educational scene. For every scientist or technologist, many highly skilled technicians and tradesmen have to be trained. The equipment to train these people must be adequate in quantity and up to date. It has become clear in the course of the first year's administration of the scheme that equipment has neither been adequate nor up to date. The size of the Commonwealth grant in relation to past State allocations for technical training has been so generous that the States have found considerable difficulty in stepping up their construction and equipment programmes within the first year of the programme. But with the assurance of three more years of finance at this level, they will be able within that time to make a substantial impression on the needs for well equipped training facilities.

Some examples of the States' proposals for the new triennium will illustrate the nature of the programme which this Bill will facilitate. In New South Wales work will be undertaken at colleges in Cooma, Wauchope, Wollongong, Gunnedah, Newcastle, Cowra, Leeton and Blacktown, as well as in the metropolitan area, and much equipment will be installed. In Victoria, the State has made proposals for the grants to be spent in a number of technical schools and colleges on building and equipment to teach science, applied science, metallurgy, the engineering and motor trades, woodwork and plumbing. In Queensland, the proposals cover the Central Technical College and technical colleges at Bundaberg, Cairns, the Coorparoo School of Food, Eagle Farm, Ithaca, Kangaroo Point, Rockhampton, Yeronga, and the Queensland Agricultural College. Projects range from chemistry and electrical engineering to plumbing, sheetmetal and bricklaying, with animal science and dairy technology buildings at Gatton.

In South Australia grants have already been made in 1964-65 for Education Department establishments and at the South Australian Institute of Technology and Roseworthy Agricultural College, and the proposals for the triennium include substantial expenditure on an automotive trade school and further expenditure on engineering, food technology and at Roseworthy. In Western Australia, building has already taken place at five schools and the proposals for the triennium include a substantial equipment programme and a very large expenditure for the Fremantle Technical School. In Tasmania, the whole of the expenditure in the first two years of the triennium, amounting to over £334,000 will be spent on the new general block at the Hobart Technical College.

I commend the Bill, which will have such an important effect on the training of skilled personnel in our country, to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.

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