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Friday, 22 May 1970

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Luchetti (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Order! The honourable member should address his remarks more closely to the subject matter of the Bill.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I accept your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker. But the point is that this is an exercise in CommonwealthState relations. A grant is being made by the Commonwealth to the States. As I have tried to indicate to the House, the Premier of New South Wales feels that he can do more if he can get more money. I have indicated that while the Commonwealth is prepared to take the plaudits for giving this grant - and it is entitled to do so because it has initiated the grant - nevertheless it should not think that the problems in education will be solved. The plea 1 am making is for an immediate investigation into the needs of all schools in all Slates so we can determine what money should be given to the States for education.

Mr Hunt - This is already going on.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I know it is going on. But it is too late at this stage to say that it will keep going on. 1 believe that a survey will show that to satisfy the needs of the States the Commonwealth will have to make available half as much again. That is well known. But the Government attitude is: We will wait until the survey comes out and we will then think about it when drafting the Budget after next. I have asked the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) what offer he has made to the States under the tax reimbursement formula, but he cannot tell me. These grants are already cut and dried from the point of view of the next Budget. The Government cannot tell me that it has not decided the details of the next Budget. The tax reimbursement formula is virtually fixed. The States will get something extra, but costs arc increasing. So next year there will be more youngsters trying to become teachers, but there will be no opportunity for them to do so because insufficient colleges have been established.

The Commonwealth's help is commendable because there is a crisis. It must be borne in mind that if there were not a crisis the Commonwealth would not be helping at all. But the Commonwealth should not think that because it has given some help the crisis is being solved. It is only being ameliorated by this assistance.

The crisis will get worse because insufficient money has been given. This assistance will be over a triennium. The prospect of providing further assistance should be looked at before that period expires and a determination made of what is a fair proportion of revenue to give to the States to ensure that a Stale can build teachers' colleges to take all those wishing to become teachers, and to ensure that it can educate all youngsters. We should not have the position we have at the moment where the Commonwealth takes all moneys from the taxpayer and gives back only a certain amount to the States under the tax reimbursement formula, and where we then have to have this type of legislation, commendable as it is, to provide additional assistance.

The crisis is getting worse. More money should be given. We cannot afford any further delay in having a survey made of how many teachers are needed and how much money should be given to them. One weakness in this sort of legislation is that the grant has been made for capital expenditure. No money is being given to maintain the colleges or to help pay the salaries of both teachers and trainees. Salaries will be another problem. If the States are to create more opportunities by granting trainee scholarships, they have to be provided with the money for the trainees and their teaching facilities. Additional funds should be given for that purpose and the grant should not be limited to capital expenditure. For those reasons, while one has to support the Bill because it provides a benefit, one at least makes the plea that much more serious consideration be given urgently to the needs of the teaching profession, particularly in New South Wales.

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