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Tuesday, 9 May 1972
Page: 2261

The following answers to questions upo n notice were circulated:

Education: Commonwealth Aid (Question No. 3485)

Mr MALCOLM FRASER (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) The latest year for which per student figures for direct Commonwealth financial assistance to schools in the States are available is 1970-71. Direct aid to secondary schools in the States in 1970-71 was provided under the Science Laboratories and Schools Libraries Programme for both government and non-government schools and as per capita grants towards the running costs of non-government schools. In 1965-66 such assistance was given for science laboratories only, while in 1960-61 there were no Commonwealth programmes of direct financial assistance to schools. The per student information requested is shown for secondary schools in the following table.


Concerning primary schools in the States, per capita grants at the rate of $35 per student were provided by the Commonwealth to non-government schools in 1970-71. In addition assistance is given to both Government and non-government schools under the Child Migrant Education Programme. As this aid, which totalled $1,709,000 for government and $133,000 for Roman Catholic primary and secondary schools in 1970-71, was for a specific group of students only, it is pointless to relate it to total enrolments. It is therefore excluded from the table below.

When considered in isolation, the per student information shown is meaningless because it takes no account of the significant, but indirect contribution by the Commonwealth to the capital and running costs of government schools. For example, with respect to the recurrent costs of government secondary schools in 1970-71 the average per pupil expenditure was in the vicinity of $450 and is estimated to have increased to around $530 in 1971-72. In view of the fact that under the general financial assistance arrangements the Commonwealth Government provides something like half of States' resources for recurrent expenditure on schools, it would be reasonable to say that the Commonwealth contributed indirectly about $225 per pupil towards the recurrent costs of government secondary schools in 1970-71 and is contributing about $265 per pupil in 1971-72.

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