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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2734

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the contents of the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Devitt)- Is leave granted?

Senator Wood - No.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTLeave is not granted.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -As was pointed out by my colleague, the Acting Minister for Education (Mr Barnard) when he introduced this Bill into the House of Representatives, the main purpose of the Bill before the House is to amend the States Grants (Schools) Act 1972-1973 and the States Grants (Schools) Act 1973 to increase the level of Australian Government assistance available to both government and non-government schools in Australia. At the time it introduced the 1974-75 Budget the Government announced its acceptance of the recommendations by the Schools Commission that the programs of capital and recurrent assistance available to both government and nongovernment schools under the States Grants (Schools) Acts 1972-73 and 1973 should be supplemented in recognition of the reduced purchasing power of those grants brought about by cost increases.

The report which was prepared by the Schools Commission following its investigation of the effects of educational cost increases has been made available to this House. The Commission has measured the effects of unexpectedly high cost increases in the provision of educational facilties and services in schools in Australia upon the programs of Australian Government assistance. It has recommended additional sums to be added to grants to States so as to restore the original purchasing power of these programs. The Government has accepted the Schools Commission 's recommendation that the funding principles and procedures set down in the report of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission, 'Schools in Australia' should continue to operate for the period during which the legislation giving effect to the Committee's recommendations operates. In adopting the Commission's current recommendation on additional grants, the Government is leaving unaltered the principles and intent incorporated in the States Grants (Schools) legislation passed by this Parliament in December 1 973.

The present legislation makes available a further $64.47 m in recurrent grants to schools and $ 14.43m in capital grants up to 31 December 1975. Of these sums government schools will receive $35.6m in recurrent grants and $1 1.83m for capital purposes. Nongovernment schools will receive an additional $23. 67m towards recurrent costs and $2.5 lm for capital expenditure. An additional $5. 29m will be added to programs which apply to both government and non-government schools.

The Government is anxious to ensure that there is no erosion of the value of the Karmel initiatives due to increases in capital costs and salaries. What has been commenced must be brought to fruition and this Bill, with its substantial increases in recurrent and capital funds, will do just this. The present legislation will ensure that the qualitative improvements which the Government sought to achieve in schools throughout Australia when it adopted the recommendations of the Karmel report, 'Schools in Australia', will still be achieved and as a result every child attending a primary or secondary school in this nation will benefit. 1 commend this Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Cotton) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 1.2 to 2.15 p.m.

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