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Thursday, 22 August 1985
Page: 175

Senator MORRIS —I direct my question to the Minister for Education. Has she seen the Press report in yesterday's Courier-Mail which states that capital works in Queensland universities have been cut for the second year in a row? Is this an accurate report?

Senator RYAN —I thank the honourable senator for his question because as he is a new senator he has not been exposed-

Opposition senators interjecting-

The PRESIDENT —Order! It is Senator Morris's first question. He is entitled to hear the answer.

Senator RYAN —Senator Morris's question has caused quite a furore amongst Opposition members. As Senator Morris unfortunately will learn when he has been in this place for some time, the Queensland media seems to persist in reporting very inaccurate claims about funding for education in Queensland. I have often had cause in this place to correct misrepresentations made by the State Minister and other persons in Queensland about the level of funding going into Queensland higher education in particular. In fact, there will be not a cut but an increase for higher education capital funding in Queensland this year. The Government has so far decided only on global increases in funding for the higer education sector for 1986 and 1987. The final decisions on the allocation of these extra funds between States and sectors will be made only after the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission reports in September 1985.

The Government has focused its plans on the higher education sector in general and substantial growth has been approved. The Budget papers reveal that for 1985-86 Queensland higher education institutions, that is, both universities and colleges of advanced education, will receive increased capital grants from the Commonwealth of 22.4 per cent on 1984-85 levels-a substantial increase in real terms. In technical and further education, the Budget papers show that capital grants to Queensland in 1985-86 will increase by about 11.3 per cent on 1984-85. In terms of total grants to higher education, that is, recurrent and capital, Queensland will receive a funding increase of 9.3 per cent in 1985-86 on 1984-85 levels compared with the six-State average increase of 7.4 per cent.

In conclusion, I am very pleased that we are able to make this contribution to higher education and to technical and further education in Queensland because after years of undoubted neglect by its State Government, when the State Government had responsibility for higher education, it has fallen behind other States. We are very pleased to be able to overcome that backlog by giving an increased proportion of tertiary funds to higher education and TAFE in Queensland. However, it is a bit hard to take when we go to these lengths to increase the level of higher education funding in Queensland and are then accused of reducing it.

Senator Chaney —I ask the Minister to table the paper from which she quoted.

Senator RYAN —I table the paper.