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Friday, 2 December 1983
Page: 3235

Senator REID —I ask the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs what action the Government proposes to take to ensure that its pre-election commitment that Radford College would be built, will not be thwarted because of an entirely unrelated industrial matter. Does the Minister intend to allow the Builders Labourers Federation and the Trades and Labour Council of the Australian Capital Territory to dictate education planning decisions, resulting in the victimisation of Radford College students and parents?

Senator RYAN —As the Senate knows, the Government has made a decision with regard to Radford College and that decision stands. There is no connection between that decision and the matters that the Trades and Labour Council and the Builders Labourers Federation were agitating about yesterday. They were expressing concern about the removal of asbestos from public buildings in Canberra, including some Government schools. They have been told by my colleague, the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Mr Willis, that Government action is in hand to secure a safe working and studying environment for students in those colleges. Indeed, Cabinet will be considering the funding and mechanics of implementing this undertaking next week. But I repeat that there is no connection between our undertaking to ensure the safety of students in Narrabundah and Watson High Schools and the suggested action with regard to Radford College.

I conclude by answering the second part of Senator Reid's question. The education policies of this Government are decided by the Government. We engage in consultation with a range of organisations, including trade unions, throughout Australia but no outside group, or other group at all dictates education policy to this Government. It is responsible for its own policies and its policies with regard to schools in the Australian Capital Territory have been made perfectly clear.