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Thursday, 1 March 1984
Page: 222


Senator TOWNLEY —Has the attention of the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs been drawn to the brochure that was distributed by the Institution of Engineers Australia, titled 'Engineering Education in Crisis, 1983' in which the Institution points to the damaging effect of continued funding restrictions on the quality of education of professional engineers in Australia? In fact, the Institution now says the situation is contrary to the national interest. In view of the seriousness of the present situation and the importance of a sufficient number of well trained engineers to the development of all aspects of this country, will the Minister have the Department examine the brochure and, if necessary, officers of the Department? Will he have them have discussions with the Institution of Engineers and then advise the Senate what action it is intended to take on the recommendations that are made by the Institution in the brochure that I mentioned.


Senator RYAN —I am quite happy to undertake some investigation into the claims that are being made by the Institution of Engineers. The particular pamphlet referred to by Senator Townley has not been drawn to my attention. In response to Senator Townley I suggest that the most appropriate course of action would be for me to consult with the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission because the Commission has been asked to review manpower needs in a number of crucial areas in higher education. Clearly, if our needs for trained engineers are changing, that need should form part of its review and part of its advice to me. If Senator Townley would like to make the pamphlet available to me I will make sure the Tertiary Education Commission considers the matters raised.