Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
South Australians hit hardest from rural education neglect



Download PDFDownload PDF

P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

1 4 5 K O O R N A N G ROAD C A R N E G I E . VIC. 3 1 6 3 T E L . ( 0 3 ) 5 7 1 3 3 1 1

FAX. ( 0 3 i 5 7 1 6 0 2 0

D R D A V ID K E M P , M .P. F E D E R A L M E M B E R F O R G O L D S T E IN SH A D O W M I N I S T E R F O R ED U C A T IO N

13 September 1991

SOUTH AUSTRALIANS HIT HARDEST FROM RURAL EDUCATION NEGLECT

South Australians are suffering most from the neglect of rural educational opportunity in Australia, the Shadow Minister for Education, Dr David Kemp, said yesterday.

In a second reading speech on the Student Assistance Amendment Bill (No 2), Dr Kemp said that at less than one per cent, South Australia had the lowest non-metropolitan participation in higher education in both the 15 - 19 and 20 - 24 age groups.

This compared with an Australian figure of 7.4 for 15 - 19 and 7.6 for 20 - 24.

Dr Kemp said that a report of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training, entitled, Toward a National Education and Training Strategy for Rural Australians noted that the two major barriers to participation identified are a perceived poorer quality of service in non-metropolitan regions and inappropriate provision.

He said the report was decidedly unimpressed with efforts over much of the past decade to increase the participation rates of rural Australians, noting that "past efforts to resolve problems of participation and access have proven only marginally effective."

In other words, they haven't worked, said Dr Kemp.

He said that one piece of disinformation happily laid to rest by this report was that the people of the other Australia weren't interested in education and training. He quoted from the report:

"The Working Party concluded, however, that there was little evidence to indicate that rural people are any more inclined to take a negative view of education and training than are metropolitan people. Rather, a strong commitment to and concern for better education and training provision in rural areas came through in both the submissions and the consultations."

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MiCAH

Dr Kemp continued: "It is not as though this government has simply turned its back on rural problems, letting them fester by callous neglect. No. It is worse. Its policies have actively worked to make things worse, a situation reflected in a concern raised in this report."

The report noted a concern, particularly among Victorian rural communities, that the push to amalgamate regional tertiary institutions with large metropolitan universities under the Unified National System Education and Training - may lead to a reduction in their role as regional providers, as the administrative power shifts to a metropolitan base.

"The coalition has repeatedly called for the establishment of a realistic assets test for AUSTUDY.

"In May, the Coalition moved successfully in the Senate for immediate education assistance for families suffering severe financial hardship in this economic crisis. The terms of the Coalition's resolution sought to have AUSTUDY made available to such families in circumstances in which they would otherwise be excluded by the asset test.

"The Government's response to this in the Budget was totally inadequate," Dr Kemp said.

"The Liberal and National parties have been the only parties to put forward anything like a workable proposal which could provide immediate emergency education assistance to families suffering severe financial hardship."

"On taking office, a Coalition Government will thoroughly review the rules and administration of AUSTUDY to ensure that they are fair to all, and that the scheme delivers its advertised benefits smoothly, effectively and efficiently," said Dr Kemp.

"As conditions permit, a Coalition Government will work to improve the support given to needy students through AUSTUDY and ABSTUDY.

"Particular regard will also be given to the needs of regional and rural students who have to travel long distances, or be accommodated away from home, to attend higher education institutions.

"The assets tests on AUSTUDY and the Assistance for Isolated Children's Scheme (AIC) have introduced hardship for some families. The assets test as it applies to the AIC scheme will be abolished by a Coalition Government and be submitted to searching review to ensure its fairness and equity."

Dr Kemp said a Coalition Government would move swiftly to unite the two Australias - - metropolitan and non-metropolitan - into one nation, and end the educational apartheid practised by Labor.

"We have demonstrated that we in the Coalition are the only ones who can look after the interests of non-metropolitan as well as metropolitan Australia and bring them together in a single nation where fairness and equity prevail."