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Tuesday, 22 May 2001
Page: 26797

Mr Murphy asked the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 26 March 2001:

(1) As part of the GST compensation package, has the Government agreed to provide primary schools with a grant of $28m to enable them to purchase Australian books for their libraries.

(2) Does the $28m equate to approximately $2.50 additional funding per student per year, totalling $10 per student over four years; if not, does the grant equal $0.635 additional funding per student per year, totalling $2.50 per student over four years.

(3) Will the grants be made available to primary schools in March or April 2001; if not, (a) why not and (b) when will schools be able to access these grants.

(4) How will the State Governments administer the correct payment to each school.

Dr Kemp (Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Grants to Primary School Libraries Programme is a Commonwealth initiative that forms part of the Book Industry Assistance Plan. The programme's objective is to provide financial assistance to libraries of Australian primary schools in connection with the acquisition of books of Australian authors or books produced in Australia. The Commonwealth allocation for this programme is $27.4m over four years.

(2) The $28m equates to an estimated additional 1,866,600 books or associated resources to be purchased by primary school libraries over the next four years. This assumes an average cost of $15 per book or resource.

(3) The contracts between the Commonwealth and the State Governments, Independent School Associations and Catholic Education Commissions have been sent out and funding will be provided by the Commonwealth on receipt of the signed contracts. It is up to the individual authorities as to when the funding will be distributed to individual schools.

(4) The method of administration and delivery of funds is a matter for the individual State bodies to decide. The contract states, however, that they must ensure that primary schools with less than 20 primary students receive $50 and that the remaining funds must be distributed to the remaining schools based on an equal amount per student.