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A dangerous precedent in government opting out of support for Botanic Gardens Education Unit



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MEDIA RELEASE THE SENATE

SENATOR ROBERT HILL SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, THE A C T . AN D THE STATUS OF W OMEN . ,

c o iv IM O .nW e a t : i

PARLIAME ·;·Î¤/-.ί<Î¥ LIBRARY M ICAH , ------------ -— " T ? December 1988

A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT IN GOVERNMENT OPTING OUT OF SUPPORT FOR BOTANIC. GARDENS EDUCATION UNIT

"National institutions located in Canberra have always been funded by the Commonwealth for the knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of all Australians.

"The decision of the Commonwealth Government not to continue Commonwealth funding for the educational services provided by the Australian National Botanic Gardens is an abdication of responsibility," Shadow Minister for the ACT, Senator Robert Hill, said today.

"It also sets an undesirable precedent with regard to other National Institutions. Will education officers with the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery and the National Museum be next to go?

"It would seem that the Commonwealth is seeking to pass the responsibility for educational aspects of the national institutions to the new Territory Government.

"The Commonwealth Government says that as 70% of the school students who make use of the education unit's services are from the ACT, the ACT should fund the service. But ACT residents already contribute through the tax system to the upkeep of the national institutions.

"Besides, percentages are not set in concrete. For example, a decade ago more than 30% of those making use of the educational services at the Australian War Memorial were from the ACT until programs were drawn up to match with the curriculum in

the states. Today, only 3% of the students making use of War Memorial educational facilities are from the ACT.

"If Federal funding ceases for the Botanic Gardens educational unit, the same argument can be made for stopping funding to other national institutions located in Canberra.

"75 to 80% of the school children who make use of the Australian War Memorial's educational services are from New South Wales. The NSW figure for the Australian National Gallery is 58.5%.

"Does the Commonwealth intend to ask the NSW Government to fund the services in those two institutions?

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"The Commonwealth has also argued that because the unit has been hit by the loss of two of its staff it is no longer

viable.

"What a nonsense argument. The two officers who left have not been replaced because the Government has put a

recruitment freeze on the institution. In other words, it is by its policies making the unit no longer viable.

"A danger in self government was always that the

Commonwealth would seek to pass the cost of national

responsibilities to the Territory. Already it seems to be occurring.

"This is not in the best interests of the Commonwealth or the Territory and the Government should not be allowed to get away with it.

Contact: Senator Robert Hill (062) 773765