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Thursday, 12 September 1996
Page: 3350


Senator GIBBS —by leave—I present to the Senate three petitions, similar in wording, from 6,375, 105 and seven petitioners, which are not in conformity with the standing orders as they are not in the correct form:

To: Hon John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia

Hon Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Youth Affairs

The undersigned are extremely concerned about threats to university funding and express their support for Australian public universities and for government measures to ensure that the highest possible proportion of school leavers and adult students can have a university education. We demand no cuts in Commonwealth Government funding of universities fully funded wage increases for general and academic staff in universities full Commonwealth funding for the new Queensland campuses announced at Cairns, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan

A FAIR GO FOR Queensland STUDENTS!

A Petition to the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in the (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia.

This petition of certain residents in the State of Queensland draws to the attention of the House our concerns that extra tertiary places, previously announced for Queensland universities, may now be revoked.

The previous Federal Government allocated an extra 7600 funded student places for Queensland universities over a three year period. In addition $43.8 million in capital funding was set aside for campuses and facilities in regional areas, including Ipswich, Logan, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Cairns. However these initiatives are now in doubt following recent comments and speculation by Federal Government Ministers. Any reversal of the above decisions will severely disadvantage potential Queensland tertiary students. Our State continues to experience rapid growth and education services remain a priority need.

We request the House to call on the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia to guarantee that the tertiary places and facilities, previously announced for Queensland universities, be delivered.

The Right Honourable Mr John Howard

Prime Minister and The Honourable Ms Amanda Vanstone Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Youth Affairs Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

We the undersigned citizens respectfully submit that any further reform to the higher education sector should be undertaken in a planned, consultative manner in order to achieve clearly specified social and economic goals. We the petitioners oppose the random, ad hoc and irresponsible nature of the current threats to reduce Commonwealth funding to universities which are damaging to our international reputation as a provider of high quality tertiary education; disruptive to orderly planning and long term development for the sector, needlessly painful to staff and students attempting to work within the current environment; and devastating to our regional economy which is still recovering from drought.

We ask that:

1. the government state publicly its vision and direction for the future of Australian universities as a matter of urgency;

2. the government recognise its moral and economic duty to recompense university staff for their achievements in social and economic reform by maintaining, as a bare minimum, the wage supplement previously offered;

3. the government honour its pre-election commitment to maintaining both the number of student places and the quality of education offered by the Australian university system;

4. the government honour its commitment to rural Australians by adequately supporting regional universities and other public service institutions.

Your petitioners urge you to address these matters immediately and positively.