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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 6017

Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) (6:10 PM) —In relation to the very specific question asked by the shadow minister for employment participation, training and sport, the member for Boothby, I can say that we will provide him with a detailed answer to that question. Obviously it goes to a set of communications which, he would appreciate, I do not have available to me here in the Main Committee, but I can give an undertaking to provide an answer to him expeditiously, and we will. On the issue relating to Building the Education Revolution raised by two members in their contributions, I thank them for that and I thank them for their understanding about how important this is to their local schools and for supporting local jobs. Whilst the member for New England may not have been in the Main Committee when this was asserted by the shadow minister for education, apprenticeships and training, the shadow minister is asserting that there are some schools that will not benefit at all from the program, and I have asked him to provide a list of those schools so that the government can publish it.

I know the member for New England is concerned about student financing and I very much appreciate the fact that in a very detailed way he has worked through with my office his set of concerns. I know that he appreciates that, overall, out of this package more students will benefit and I know that he appreciates that the substantial changes in the family income tests will be of real benefit for students in his community. I also know he appreciates that the government here is delivering a cost-neutral reform and that the aim is to have sustainability in the budget. Of course, we are in days of economic stimulus now, but that is economic stimulus at the time of the global recession; something like student financing is going to be in the forward estimates from now on for a very, very long time into the future. What we are endeavouring to put together is a package of reforms that is cost neutral on the forward estimates and that benefits more young Australians. But I anticipate that the member for New England will continue to raise these concerns with us and I look forward to that dialogue. I note that he has always raised these concerns in a very constructive way and worked through them in a very honest and detailed way for members of his local community. So I thank him for that.