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Wednesday, 2 November 1983
Page: 2251

Mr WELLS(7.43) —The education debate this afternoon concentrated mainly on primary and secondary education. This is perfectly appropriate. The major areas of contention in that debate, as raised by the Oppostion, concerned primary and secondary education. It is perfectly appropriate that Government speakers should have addressed themselves primarily to the questions which were raised by the Opposition in the debate. However, my own background is in tertiary education. I would like to make some remarks about that, particularly as it affects my own electorate of Petrie. In that context, I am very pleased to announce that the Carseldine campus of the Brisbane College of Advanced Education in my electorate of Petrie is to receive $650,000. The Tertiary Education Commission has recommended that $650,000 be provided to the Brisbane CAE, specifically for the Carseldine campus-an excellent campus of that CAE-for a resources centre and teaching facilities.

I can also say that that recommendation has been accepted by the Government and will be brought to this Parliament in the near future. This funding is part of a total Commonwealth contribution of $5,100,000 for Brisbane CAE Carseldine campus . Having said that, I would like to point out that this funding is part of a general overall increase provided to the tertiary sector by the Hawke Labor Government. Funding for tertiary education has increased by $10m in the current period. Three thousand new places will be provided in the tertiary sector at universities and colleges of advanced education. The increase in funding is 1 1/ 2 per cent in real terms, that is, a real term increase. So in the area of tertiary education this Government is not merely holding its own with the universities and the CAEs, it is making a real increase.

This record compares very well with the shody performance of the Opposition when it was in government. If we look at the figures for the funds made available to tertiary and post-graduate students under the previous Government they do not look too bad because of a massive increase in the 1982 Budget-a Budget which was designed specifically to buy votes. I would like to remind students at universities and colleges of advanced education and post-graduate students at Australian universities-people in that pool from which we hope in the future to draw our Albert Einsteins and Bertrand Russells-of the conditions that they suffered under the previous Government. Between 1977 and 1982, which was roughly the period in which I was concerned with students and the lives and appalling conditions that they suffered, the maximum tertiary education assistance scheme allowance increased from only $2,236 to $2,583-a pathetic increase for a period of so many years. During those years students were suffering, living in squalor and discomfort as a result of the paucity of funding and the poverty of generosity of the present Opposition in this place.

A similar pattern can be seen in the post-graduate awards provided to Australian post-graduate students under the Commonwealth post-graduate award scheme. In 1977 the funding was $4,000 a year as a stipend. In 1982 the funding had increased to only $4,620. There was, of course, a massive increase in 1982, as I said, but that was specifically for the purposes of buying votes, unless it represented a massive conversion to Keynesian economics of the Opposition parties, and this we doubt. The Government has moved to rectify that situation. The number of tertiary awards and TEAS positions has been increased. The interests of students and the interests of tertiary education will be looked after by this Government. I am very pleased to have been able to announce the funding to the Carseldine campus of the Brisbane College of Advanced Education. It is an excellent institution of its kind. I am sure that it will use those funds to prosper and go on to produce even finer graduates.