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Monday, 21 November 2016
Page: 3824

Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (16:44): On November 10, I was delighted to learn that the one millionth student to visit Parliament House was a young lady from my electorate, Isabella Jenke, from the Adelaide Hills. Isabella was able to come to Canberra to see Australian democracy in action with the financial assistance from the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate, also known as PACER. This rebate provides between $20 and $260 per student to schools outside of Canberra to subsidise that important educational trip to our nation's capital.

Unfortunately, the journey to Canberra is longer and more financially burdensome for some students in my large electorate than for others. Under current arrangements, Kangaroo Island students only receive a $60 rebate, the same rebate for a student living in Adelaide, despite the fact that they have no choice but to make an expensive ferry trip—more than the cost of the rebate—to reach our mainland. Tasmanian students receive an extra rebate for air and sea travel. I have spoken personally and written to federal Minister for Education and Training, and South Australian senator, Simon Birmingham to ask him to increased rebate for island students. Minister Birmingham said it was a thrill to celebrate the one-millionth-student milestone, and for that student to come from his home state. I can only reassert my request to make this important educational experience available for a wider group of students, including students from Kangaroo Island.