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Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Page: 63

Senator MASON (7:47 PM) —I rise to support Senator Macdonald. I note for the benefit of the Senate that the issues that Senator Macdonald refers to are on our running sheet on page 2, the second last point there—clauses 66 to 69. We will be addressing this issue directly later on. In essence, Minister, I accept, and I think Senator Macdonald accepts, that the quantum available to the system may be the same. I accept that and I accept your undertaking.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting—

Senator MASON —Potentially, the quantum. You keep talking about the quantum of money. The concern that Senator Macdonald has raised and that the Catholic Education Commission has raised is that remote Indigenous students studying in regional boarding schools will be worse off. In your earlier remarks, Minister, you mentioned that thousands more students will be receiving benefits. That generally means that others will be receiving less. So I accept that the quantum may be the same, but these particular students and these particular schools—some of them outside the system, as Senator Macdonald has referred to—will be receiving less. That, in essence is our concern.