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Tuesday, 17 November 1964

Senator GORTON (Victoria) (Minister for Works and Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research) (12:25 PM) . - I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Last October, the Government announced its intention to establish an inquiry to furnish advice as to the level of academic salaries which the Commonwealth should be prepared to support when making grants for recurrent expenses at universities. We said then that recommendations made to us would, if acceptable, apply as from 1st January 1964. We also said that, as an interim measure, we would stand ready to support professorial salaries at the rate of £4,600 a year in the period beginning 1st July 1963 ending 31st December 1963, and that we would introduce amending legislation to provide the supplementary funds required to support the new salary levels.

Accordingly we introduce two Bills. One Bill is to amend the States Grants (Universities) Act 1960-1963 in order to allow us to carry out our promise to support between 1st July 1963 and 31st December 1963, a level of academic salaries based on a professorial salary of £4,600 a year. The other Bill amends the Universities (Financial Assistance) Act, 1963, and is introduced as a result of the report of the inquiry by Mr. Justice Eggleston.

This report, which the Commonwealth accepts, recommends that an appropriate salary level for the Commonwealth to support in the case of a professor should be £5,200, and in the case of an associate professor and a reader £4,300. Mr. Justice Eggleston also, in the process of arriving at these recommendations, assumed that reasonable ranges of salaries for lecturers and senior lecturers should be from £2,400 a year in the case of a lecturer and up to a maximum of £3,800 a year in the case of a senior lecturer. We have accepted these assumptions as valid and are prepared to support their application.

In order to enable us to support these salaries, should the States and the Universities decide to pay them, ' we seek to appropriate, as an estimate of what will be required during 1964, a further £1.3 million. This is an estimate only as accurate figures cannot be arrived at until fuller information is received from the universities and the States including information as to the levels of salaries they will, in fact, adopt.

The States and universities can, of course, adopt any levels of salaries they wish but the Commonwealth will not support in universities in the States salaries higher than those provided for in this Bill and will, if lower salaries are paid, contribute only its share of those lower salaries.

In the Australian, National University the Commonwealth will adopt a similar policy as far as the School of General Studies is concerned; in the Institute of Advanced Studies we envisage a loading; broadly similar to that now paid.

The Government believes that the machinery employed in the production of the present report is the most satisfactory means for arriving at a measure of academic salaries appropriate for us to support and we shall, therefore, as suggested by Mr. Justice Eggleston, employ this kind of machinery in the future. But we are not prepared to adopt any specific period between reviews. I commend the Bill to the Senate.

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