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Friday, 15 June 1984
Page: 3228

(Question No. 884)

Senator Kilgariff asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 9 May 1984:

(1) What changes have been planned to the school cadet system since the Labor Government took office, and over what period of time will the changes be implemented.

(2) What changes have so far been implemented.

(3) What discussions have taken place with what schools about the future of school cadets.

(4) How many schools are now deprived of Government assistance to maintain a school cadet corps, and what is the estimated saving.

(5) Were these schools consulted before funding levels were changed.

(6) Were these schools consulted before status levels were changed.

(7) What are the criteria for deciding whether or not a school should receive funds for uniforms or camps, or be classified as 'economically disadvantaged'.

(8) What consultation took place before these changes were made.

(9) What has happened to the proposal for 'community-based units'; are they to be implemented, and what is the overall plan for this organisation.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) to (9) the Australian Cadet Corps (Army Cadets) is to be restructured so as to be based on regional units open to the community. These units are to be based on Army Reserve depots rather than at schools. The new scheme will be introduced on 1 July 1984.

Army officers conducted a consultative tour in all States during December 1983, which was open to attendance by representatives of all schools with cadet units. Most schools accepted the invitation to represent their views. Levels of support were discussed in detail. Also, each school with a cadet unit received a letter from the Deputy Chief of the General Staff in December 1983, and a telegram from Army Office in March 1984, outlining the proposed restructuring of the Australian Cadet Corps, and requesting that schools indicate their intentions.

Those eight units already operating on a community-based system with full army support (funding for uniforms, equipment, travel subsidy, annual camps and payment of officers of cadets) will continue to receive that support.

Up to 20 open units are expected to be established in 1984-85. They will receive full support.

Ten economically disadvantaged schools will also continue to receive full army support for their cadet units. The classification 'economically disadvantaged' was based on the criteria used by each State education authority in classifying schools as disadvantaged. These units are expected to be opened to the community in due course.

All other schools wishing to retain affiliation with the Australian Army Cadet Corps will receive limited support from the Army. Limited support will include the training but not payment of officers of cadets, and uniforms and equipment will be provided, but the schools will have to pay for them.

Units which are to receive limited support may retain, at no cost, uniforms, personal and unit equipment currently on issue to them.

The estimated saving in fiscal year 1984-85 is in the order of $3.0m, with subsequent additional savings in future years in the order of $4m, resulting in total savings of approximately $7m.