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Tuesday, 10 October 1972
Page: 2243

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I direct my question to the Minister for Education and Science. I refer to the debate on the States grants legislation in which the Minister said the Government would reject the concept of the application of the means test for the purpose of the current grants and the further statement that the Commonwealth had invited New South Wales and other States to make a contribution equivalent to 20 per cent of the national average cost of educating children. How does the Minister reconcile these statements with the announcement last week by the New South Wales Premier that he will offer a mere 10 per cent of the cost by way of secondary allowance and, further, nothing at all if the means as assessed exceed $6,000? What action does the Government contemplate to overcome the needs of children in New South Wales, particularly those in large families, who will be denied any State assistance at all because of the New South Wales means test?

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) -The honourable member would know that the Victorian and Queensland Governments are marching on all fours with us in this par ticular policy. The Queensland Government already has put its decision fully into effect. The Victorian Government is putting its decision into effect over 2 years - in its Budget just passed and in the next Victorian Budget. New South Wales has made significant increases in per capita payments to students in schools. It has relaxed the means test which has been applied to parents, not to schools, in respect of secondary payments. It is my understanding of the New South Wales position that it, in principle, supports the general approach adopted by the Commonwealth but has to judge how far it can march towards that objective in accordance with its own budgetary situation.

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