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Thursday, 17 August 1972
Page: 446

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

What action has been taken to provide country children who are denied access to full education above the primary level with away from home allowances and the cost of travel as promised by the former Deputy Prime Minister at the General Elections in 1969.

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

I am not in a position to comment on the statement by the then Deputy Prime Minister, which was to the effect that it was the intention of the Country Party to work for a Government allowance to students who must live away from home to receive their education and also for a provision to cover their cost of travel.

Statements I have made leave no doubt about my concern that country children, along with any other groups who may be suffering disadvantages, should be assisted to achieve a proper realisation of their educational goals. All States and the

Commonwealth, in its own territories, have provisions to pay boarding and travelling allowances to children who must live away from home in order to attend school. In the Northern Territory, where the Commonwealth has specific responsibilities, living away from home allowances and travelling allowances are provided at both primary and secondary level and these allowances are being kept under review. In States where the problem is greatest because of long distances and consequent isolation, such as Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, the State authorities themselves have made significant increases in assistance to students who must live away from home in order to attend school.

The Australian Education Council has expressed its concern for the educational problems of isolated children in particular and a meeting of Commonwealth and Stale officials has recently been held to examine their needs more closely.

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