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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2431
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Senator Ryan —On 28 May 1985 (Hansard, page 2598) Senator Lajovic asked me a question without notice concerning funding for the School of Slavonic Studies at Macquarie University for the 1985-87 triennium. The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

Following advice received from the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission in Volume 1 of its Report for the 1985-87 Triennium, the Government agreed that grants for community language programs would no longer be specifically earmarked. Funds would however continue to be made available within general recurrent grants which were increased by the amounts involved, for this purpose. CTEC considered that the original purpose of earmarking grants, ie, highlighting a need, had been achieved. While the funds made available to Macquarie University for Slavonic Studies are no longer earmarked as such, an appropriate provision has been made in the total grant to enable the courses commenced under the Community Languages Program at Macquarie University to continue through 1985 to 1987. I understand this includes programs in Croatian, Macedonian, Polish and Serbian languages. Studies in Ukrainian are also available in 1985.

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Senator Gietzelt —On 17 October 1985, (Hansard, page 1407) Senator Peter Rae asked me, as Minister representing the Minister for Transport, a question without notice concerning the arrangements being made for the meeting of a consultative committee concerned with the lightstation conversion program.

The Minister for Transport has provided the following information:

I refer the honourable senator to my statement to the Parliament on 11 October 1984 concerning the Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Expenditure on ``Lighthouses: Do We Keep the Keepers?''.

In that statement I said I would develop and announce to the Parliament a Program for amongst other lighthouses, Swan Island, after having the benefit of any further community reaction and the benefit of comments from the relevant State Government. I also said that in the development of the Program I would follow the decision making arrangements recommended in the Report.

The procedure being followed in the case of Swan Island is exactly that recommended in the Report.

Discussion with Tasmanian Government officers took place on 29 August 1985 and resulted in agreement on the form of the consultative committee meeting and its venue at the Australian Maritime College, Launceston. Arising from this meeting the Tasmanian Government officials provided a list of representative organisations they proposed should be included in the discussions. Discussion with representatives of these organisations has been taking place since 11 September 1985. The meeting date and place were covered in these discussions. No organisation has suggested that Launceston is either inappropriate or inconvenient for a meeting concerning a lighthouse off the North East coast of Tasmania. On Wednesday 16 October 1985 the Australian Lighthouse Association representative raised the question of payment to attend the meeting.

In the maritime area the Department of Transport is responsible for two statutory bodies established under the Navigation Act. In these cases members are formally appointed by the Minister and fees and expenses are prescribed by the Remuneration Tribunal. There are many other consultative meetings where participants are responsible for their own fares and expenses. This Lighthouse Conversion Program meeting is only the first of many such meetings. No funds are allowed in the budget for such purposes and it would not be appropriate to establish a precedent of this nature.

Certain national organisations interested in being represented at the meeting have arranged for Tasmanian resident delegates to attend. This is entirely appropriate for an issue that primarily is of concern to Tasmania. The Australian Lighthouse Association may also wish to consider this approach.

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