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Tuesday, 9 May 1972
Page: 2248

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Luchetti (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted. (The" table read as follows) -


Dr JENKINS - This table illustrates the percentage of population born overseas and the number of non-British migrants as a percentage of total migrants in certain municipalities. To take one example from that table, 38 per cent of the inhabitants of Keilor Shire were bom overseas and 80 per cent of those migrants are non-British. Compare this with the overall figure for Melbourne of 26 per cent of its population born overseas of which 50 per cent are nonBritish. Mr Roper continues:

This was more than confirmed by a 1970 Victorian Education Department survey of migrants here less than 6 years. Of the 100 primary schools classified as having large numbers 20 were in the west and included 3 with in excess of SO. The high and tech figures for the west were 6 out of 24 and 3 out of 10 respectively.

Evidence from my own research suggests that not only the recently arrived migrant suffers a language handicap. Even children born here, if the borne language is not English, tend to score at the bottom end of the scale.

This process is accentuated during the middle secondary years when the level of English demanded accelerates. In my view the present migrant English programme is far too limited and thousands of western suburbs children are as a consequence permanently stunted.

This is an indictment of the programme of migrant education that we have. My experience in my electorate also reflects this deficiency. The Preston East High School which serves an area which has a substantial migrant population not only has vacancies for a mathematics and a commercial teacher but also shortly will have positions of deputy principal, a physical education teacher, a fifth year physics and mathematics teacher and a science teacher falling vacant. But its most urgent need is a teacher for migrant children. This is not my statement but the statement of the High School Advisory Council. Is it any wonder then that I am not opposed to any increase in appropriation for migrant education? However, I am disturbed and angry at having to point out the deficiencies of the programme. Crash courses for adults are ineffective and, unless such special training for non-English speaking migrants is started at pre-school level and carried right through the educational process, the efforts are ineffective. Any debate in Australia on any of the migrant programmes of its political parties is an academic exercise unless one is aware of this prime ingredient of educational training for satisfactory assimilation.

The appropriation for Commonwealth university scholarships is increased because of an increase in university fees. This once more highlights the inadequacy of this system to equitably make higher education possible for capable young people. Year after year university quotas exist. Year after year young people have to reject places offered to them because they have not sufficient money and they have not obtained scholarships. These children in many cases are the tip of the iceberg from areas which are deprived of educational advantage. In many cases they come from areas with poor pre-school facilities and poor primary and secondary school facilities; yet having survived all this they are unable to accept the university places offered. I make this comment in passing, accepting with despair the Government's attitude to such areas. But, in accusation, how can the Government say that in areas of lower than average earnings it is the lack of parental interest which leads to the disadvantage? This is just hot good enough. More help is needed not just for the student at tertiary level, as the Commonwealth believes; emphasis should be on the student in the earliest stage with need being the basis for decision on how help is granted.

The same sort of criticism may be applied to the increased appropriation under the Aged Persons Homes Act. Here I again quote some figures for different areas of the Melbourne metropolitan area. Take the western suburbs of Altona, Williamstown, Footscray, Sunshine and Keilor whose 1968 population was 227,000 and then take as a representative eastern suburbs block, Camberwell, Hawthorn, Kew and Malvern whose 1968 population figure was 220,000. We find that there were 34 single flats built under the Aged Persons Homes Act in the western suburbs whereas 690 single flats were built in the eastern suburbs. There were 12 double flats built in the western suburbs compared with 30 in the eastern suburbs. With regard to the hostels built under the Aged Persons Homes Act, one representing 35 beds was built in the western suburbs whereas 22 representing 652 beds were built in the eastern suburbs. 1 We must query why this imbalance occurs. In my electorate of Scullin there would be one such aged persons home, 'Lumeah', which provides an accommodation of something like 30 beds. The reason for this may be found on examining the answer I received from the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) after representations had been made on behalf of the preston City Council. That Council wished to use loan funds to supply such accommodation. An excerpt from the letter states:

When I-

That is, the Minister for Social Services - . . pointed out that grants made from loan funds by local governing bodies to other eligible organisations could be used to attract Commonwealth subsidy I was not inferring that such organisations are more capable of running aged persons homes than local governing bodies, but merely explaining how Councils which wished to help the establishment of aged persons homes could do so under the existing legislation.

To amend the Aged Persons Homes Act in the way suggested by Council would have the effect of changing the concept of legislation, the purpose of which is to provide an incentive to community support for aged persons homes.

To provide an incentive to community support for aged persons homes'. Of course, one is there referring to suburbs in which there is less than average earnings, where the community itself is not able to supply the amount that can be raised - in more affluent suburbs to allow these aged persons homes to be constructed in order to make accommodation available for the aged. It goes deeper than that. Because of the appropriation under the Aged Persons Homes Act many people are forced to take such accommodation in other areas. These are some of the fringe problems. People are torn from the areas where they have lived for many decades, where they have lived their whole lives, where their friends still live and where their families probably live. Yet because of the requirements of this Aged Persons Homes Act, the purpose of which is to give an incentive to community support, these already deprived suburbs are unable to satisfy the needs of the elderly people. While it is suggested that the Appropriation Bill has provided for an increased sum of money, this area is so undesirable that it requires the attention of the public to be drawn to it time and time again, just as we are drawing attention to the lack of other facilities for the aged.

Provision is made in the Appropriation Bills for increased appropriations for Defence forces pay and allowances, particularly arising out of the Kerr Committee report. It was mentioned to me by members of the Defence forces that while the living away from home capital cities allowances for public servants were adjusted early in January of this year, similar adjustments had not been made for members of the armed services as late as Anzac Day. The query was put to me why this should occur. I should like some explanation at some stage whether this adjustment has been made. I believe that these Appropriation Bills highlight more and more the deficiencies of this Government's policies - a government that deserves the fate that it will undoubtedly get at the end of the year from the electors of Australia.

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