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Wednesday, 24 May 1972
Page: 3013

Mr CHIPP (Hotham Minister for Customs and Excise) (Minister for Customs and Excise) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Honourable members will recall that the Commonwealth introduced legislation in 1968 allocating $2.5m to organisations in the States responsible for the training of pre-school teachers. The purpose of the grants was to enable the organisations to construct and equip the facilities necessary for them to double the capacity of existing pre-school teachers colleges. Last year the principal Act, which was due to expire on 30th June 1971, was amended so that the prescribed period during which the Minister may make grants to the States was extended to 31st December 1972. The purpose of this Bill is to amend further the prescribed period so that it will terminate on 31st December 1973 instead of 31st December 1972. It has become necessary because the difficulties of the pre-school teachers colleges in acquiring land and obtaining planning permission which led to the need for the present extension have not been overcome as quickly as hoped. Except in Tasmania, where the State Government accepts responsibility for the training of preschool teachers, the organisations in the States responsible for pre-school teacher training are private organisations. As private organisations they do not have the powers compulsory to acquire land necessary for their expansion.

Melbourne Kindergarten Teachers College has encountered difficulties in acquiring land and in obtaining permits from the local government authority to use land already owned. As a result the trustees of the Melbourne Kindergarten Teachers College have been unable to start the approved project. They have just recently received advice from the local government authority that a building permit will be issued subject to certain conditions being met. The trustees have accepted the conditions. The Melbourne Kindergarten Teachers College will not be able, however, to complete its construction programme by 31st December 1972. The Sydney Day Nursery Association has been able to proceed with its approved project but has met difficulties in purchasing additional land necessary to meet the planning requirements of the local government authority. A statement has been made available to honourable members setting out the progress on the various projects and the expected impact of the programme. The proposed extension of the prescribed period is necessary to enable the programme to achieve its full purpose. I therefore commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Beazley) adjourned.

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