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Thursday, 11 November 1976
Page: 2634

Mr LIONEL BOWEN (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Smith) - We propose to move an amendment to the States Grants (Technical and Further Education Assistance) Bill 1976. The amendment has been circulated. I move:

That all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: 'while not opposing the Bill the House is of the opinion that insufficient resources are being directed into the technical education area '.

We are disappointed to learn that the Government is not prepared to accept the amendment. The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Viner) is very critical of us. I remind him that if he looks at the statistics in relation to education, as far as they apply to the Labor Administration, he will see that we increased the funds for education from some 4.3 per cent of the gross domestic product to 6,3 per cent of the GDP within a space of 3 years. That is a 2 per cent growth.

There is a great need in the area of technical education. I do not propose to delay the House but the real factors m technical education relate to retraining. The Minister made a nonsensical attack on the Australian Labor Party. He said that we were responsible for the problems in Whyalla, Mount Lyell, and in the textile and other industries. I remind him that the cause of these problems can be identified. The problems at Mount Lyell arise from the London metal price of copper. The problems at Whyalla are attributable to the fact that Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd placed its orders for ships elsewhere. The textile 'industry is in difficulty because the Government has increased quotas. In not one case can he make a point indicting the Government of which I was a member.

In regard to technical education, there is a great need for retraining. I refer to the summary of conclusions which shows that the amount of money now allocated is insufficient to meet the needs of technical education in those skills, particularly as regards those skills which are lacking. We should educate people to fill the vacancies resulting from this lack of skills. They cannot be met from migration or from other sources; they have to be met from within Australia. The need is there.

I emphasise 2 cases. The New South Wales Government wishes to build technical colleges at Granville and Mount Druitt. It still cannot get the green light to do so because of the failure to program these buildings. Unless this is done now, the buildings will not be constructed next year. Unless they are built next year, they will not be available for 1978. We see these problems revealed in relation to the above conclusions. I emphasise the need for these extra financial resources. I reiterate the great necessity for the Government to have another look at this problem.

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