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Notice given 18 June 2003

Senator Nettle: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1550-1551)—With reference to the Regional Solutions Program, can a breakdown be provided of funding in Western Australia for the years 2001 to 2003, including: (a) areas receiving funding; (b) the amount of funding received by each area; and (c) a brief job description.

1550 Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

1551 Minister representing the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government

1552  Senator McLucas: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training—

(1) Given that page 19 of the Higher Education—Report for the 2003-05 Triennium indicates that the proportion of domestic students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds has declined from 14.7 per cent in 1991 to 14.5 per cent in 2002, while the Minister stated on the SBS Insight program on 22 May 2003 that there has been ‘an increase from 19% of the poorest socio-economic status 18-year-olds in Australia in 1989 [to] a decade later … 25% of the poorest 18-year-olds getting access to higher education’:  Can the Minister indicate whether the Minister’s statement reflects an increase in participation by 18-year-olds from low SES backgrounds and, if so, whether this reflects an even larger decrease in participation by Australians of other ages from low SES backgrounds; and (b) what are the age specific participation rates by Australians from low SES backgrounds.

(2) (a) What funding, direct or indirect, and in-kind support is provided to the Australian Education Office (AEO) in Washington by: (i) the department, and (ii) Australian universities; (b) what is the role of the AEO and how is it governed; (c) what role does the Government play in the development of the material of the AEO; (d) what role does the Government have in ensuring that the material is accurate and in the interests of Australia and its higher education system; and (e) what recourse does the Government have if it finds that material is inaccurate.

(3) With reference to the 1998 research by Dr Karmel, published on the department’s website, which indicates that approximately 45 per cent of Australians are likely to enrol in a university at some point during their life and that 90 per cent will enrol in tertiary education: (a) Does this research remain valid; and (b) has any further work been undertaken on the subject since 1998.