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Wednesday, 27 November 1996
Page: 6173

Senator ALLISON(6.08 p.m.) —Yes, Senator, I understand that very well. What I want you to do is admit that, in fact, it is not a case of students taking the money when they go across from the state sector to the private sector. I would really like to hear that come from your mouth.

I will pick up on a comment that you made. Funding, in my view, does already reflect the choice made by parents. I am simply asking you why it is that we need this complex enrolment benchmark adjustment when another mechanism which funded that choice in private schools could do just as well. I think what you are telling me is that, at the end of the day, the government does not want to change its bottom line. So there will be an increase in private school students, and they will cost the government much more than its per capita funding grant to the states. Therefore, that bottom line, if it is to be kept the same, has to be paid for through the state school budget.

I will come back to my first question, because I really would like confirmation of this. The $305,239,000, on the government's own figures, will be the effect of the enrolment benchmark adjustment over four years. The department will probably say, `No, that's not true because the enrolment benchmark adjustment is shifted out 12 months. It is not calculated until the 12-month period.' I am interested in the effect of, over four years, the operation of the enrolment benchmark adjustment. I understand that it shifts out 12 months but, nevertheless, I am interested in the effect of that four-month period. I ask you to confirm that the effect of that enrolment benchmark adjustment over that four-year period will be $305 million and $239,000 based on the government's own projections.