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Funding for church and independent boarding schools saved.

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Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald Opposition Spokesman on Northern Australia Liberal Senator for Queensland



In debate in the Senate last night, the Coalition succeeded in getting an assurance from the Labor Government that funding for northern Schools which had indigenous boarding students, would not fall as a result of the new Schools Assistance Bill.

North Queensland based Liberal Senator told the Senate he had been approached by boarding schools in the North who were concerned that changed funding for indigenous students would lead to massive losses for northern schools.

"I was told that one school in Townsville would loose over $100,000 and that others in the region would loose funding ranging from $40,000 to $250,000." Senator Macdonald said.

"In a robust debate in the senate, I was able to get the Minister Senator Carr to give an assurance that all boarding schools in the north which had indigenous boarders would not be worse off under the new legislation."

"Church and independent schools had pointed out the legislation was defective and would have perhaps unintended consequences that could destroy the viability of these boarding schools and would lead to less opportunities for indigenous students to get a decent education."

"An Opposition amendment supported by minor parties but opposed by Labor, will facilitate the payment of additional funds to schools to ensure these schools didn’t receive less than they currently got."

"It was important to get a commitment from the Minister that schools would not be worse off and although reluctant, the Minister did eventually allow the assurance."

Media Contact: Troy Reeves, 0427 960 255 3 December 2008