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Wednesday, 1 November 1967

Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) - The Government has adopted a method of financing Australian universities on a 3-year basis called a triennium. The universities (Financial Assistance) Act 1963-66 provided grants to the States for universities for the triennium 1964-66. Provision was made in that Act for building programmes at the universities. Funds were to be provided up to 31st December 1966. However, it appears that plans or arrangements for a number of building projects to provide student residences were protracted. This was unexpected. It was not possible, it appears, to commence these buildings during the triennium which ended on 31st December 1966. Therefore this Bill has been introduced to give authority for the payment of the amounts decided upon in the Act for that triennium. It will provide authority for these amounts to be paid after 31st December 1966.

The amounts for the various residential colleges at universities are set out in the Schedule to the Bill. The funds will be paid to the following residences: The Saint John's College at the University of Sydney; International House and the Anglican Men's College at the University of New South Wales; Ormond College at the University of Melbourne; the Saint Thomas More College at the University of Western Australia; Hytten Hall at the University of Tasmania; and the Mary White College at the University of New England.

As I said about the previous Bill, the Opposition has had reservations about these developments in education. The students who are able to attend these colleges are, on the whole, in a better financial position than a good many other students seeking education in this country. The Opposition is concerned at the extent to which public funds are being diverted up the scale of educational opportunity. Whilst we would like to see students get the advantage of the best possible education, no matter what their income or how high up the educational scale they might be, we believe that the Government is proving somewhat more liberal in the higher ranges of education. It has accepted the kind of Commonwealth responsibility appropriate for this section of education; but if it so desires it can easily accept also the responsibility to provide assistance to students whose income is not nearly so good. With these reservations the Opposition approves the passage of this Bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

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