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Wednesday, 21 May 1980
Page: 2961

Mr McVEIGH (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) -I ask the Minister for Defence: Are some schools in all areas of Australia experiencing difficulty in providing resources to continue the new cadet system? If so, is there any way in which the Government can grant extra resources to any such schools? Have any girls been admitted to any cadet corps?

Mr KILLEN (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Defence) -I am glad that the honourable gentleman used the adjectival description 'new' in relation to the cadet scheme because that is essentially the case. When I announced the scheme some four years ago I placed emphasis upon the Government's determination to ensure that those associated with the schools gave the maximum of support to cadet units. In other words, they should allow the spirit of the volunteer to have full sway. My experience of the Navy league going back to 1969 convinced me deeply that there was splendid scope for more parents and more supporters of the. schools to participate and to help the schools. As a consequence, the Government was determined that the substantial cost associated with running and maintaining cadet units throughout Australia would be reduced. Even so, I inform my honourable friend that the cost is of the order of $6m. There are some shortages in some areas. If the honourable gentleman has some particular shortage in mind I would be grateful if he would bring it to my attention. At the same time I ask the honourable gentleman, and all members of the House, to seek to make it clear to the schools that it is the aim of the Government to secure the maximum voluntary support of the cadet units.

In relation to that part of the honourable gentleman's question regarding girls entering cadet units, the answer is no, not officially. I know of a number of schools that have accepted girls on an unofficial basis.

Mr Nixon - What are you saying?

Mr KILLEN - The honourable member can put whatever interpretation he likes on that. I say to the honourable member for Darling Downs that the matter is progressing. As the opportunity presents itself, girls will be taken into the units.

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