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Thursday, 19 September 1985
Page: 748


Senator PETER BAUME —My question is directed to the Minister for Education. I remind her that some degree students, particularly those at the Australian Film and Television School, receive living allowances of $7,000 a year without a means test, whereas all other degree students in Australia-those at the universities and colleges-if they receive any living support at all, receive allowances of $2,500 to $3,500 a year. Does the higher level paid to the Film and Television School students conform to Government policy? Which is the appropriate level of support? Are tertiarty education assistance scheme students receiving too little support or are those at the Film and Television School receiving too much?


Senator RYAN —It is not necessary that either of those suggestions made by Senator Peter Baume at the conclusion of his question is right or wrong. I certainly would not wish to say that TEAS students are receiving too much. As Senator Baume will be aware, our Government has increased the level of TEAS every year that we have been in office and we have committed ourselves to increasing it over the next three-year period. I hope that the increases will continue after that. Senator Baume will also be aware of the position in regard to students at the Film and Television School because the same situation prevails now as prevailed under the Fraser Government. Those students are regarded as trainees rather than regular undergraduate students. In many cases they are not undergraduates; many already have degrees or have had years of work in the industry before being selected through a highly selective procedure to be students at the Film and Television School. The fact that they are paid a training allowance of about $7,000 a year indicates that they are similar to the category of trainees who receive training allowances in excess of TEAS through various programs run by the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations. I would not like to say whether they receive too much or too little, but I would suggest that our Government, presumably like the Government that we followed, was prepared to make a distinction between regular undergraduates, many of them coming straight from school, and industry trainees, which is what they are at the Film and Television School, many of whom have had substantial work experience and already have tertiary qualifications.