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Thursday, 18 February 1971

Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) (Minister for Housing) (12.17) - I move:

That the Bill he now read a second time.

This Bill provides legislative basis for the comprehensive programme of migrant education which was announced in the House of Representatives on 23rd April 1970 by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch). The Bill, Mr Deputy President, relates to the total area of migrant education, which for purpose of simplicity may be dealt with under 3 main headings - the adult programme, intensive courses and child migrant education. As foreshadowed in the statement on 23rd April the Government has approved the detail of a major review of the adult education programme in source countries where pre-embarkation instruction is given, during the journey to Australia and in the community after arrival. Facilities for pre-embarkation instruction will be expanded, additional forms of instruction will be introduced and courses will be extended to new source areas such as Yugoslavia and the Scandinavian countries. The number of shipboard education officers will be increased, and with the growing emphasis upon air travel we will consider providing educational facilities in aircraft as circumstances permit.

In Australia, facilities for instruction in reception centres, in hostels and in the community generally will be expanded. There will be greater provision of parttime accelerated courses to meet the needs of migrants who for economic reasons cannot engage in full-time instruction. Greater use will be made of the medium of television and radio courses are under review. Emphasis will be placed upon encouraging industry to provide facilities for instruction at the work place so that migrant workers can have convenient access to courses of instruction. Special attention will be given to the needs of migrant women - the married woman and the housewife - for whom, if they are to become full members of the community and if they are to participate in the social life, a knowledge of English is essential. Advanced teaching techniques will be used to meet the needs of individual groups of migrants. Research surveys already undertaken and those planned will identify these individual needs and the most effective way of providing for them.

The full-time intensive course of instruction which was first introduced early in 1969 is designed specifically to meet the needs- of professional and other qualified migrants for whom an adequate knowledge of English is a pre-requisite to their being suitably employed. As a general rule only migrants who have reached a certain educational level are able to benefit effectively from this particular type of instruction. There is a considerable demand however for enrolment in the intensive courses and it is the Government's intention to provide additional centres for intensive instruction in Sydney and Melbourne, and to extend these to other capital cities and to provincial areas of high migrant density.

The child migrant education programme represents a new area of Commonwealth participation. The Government intends to finance the salaries of special teachers in both existing Government and independent schools to teach migrant children who are handicapped in varying degrees by some type of English language difficulty and the cost of special training courses for these teachers. Tt will finance the purchase of approved capital equipment of the language laboratory type for use in the special classes which will be established, lt will provide suitable teaching and learning materials not only to schools where special classes are formed but also to schools where there are insufficient numbers of migrant children with language problems to justify the appointment of a special teacher. Because what is planned in the adult programme and with intensive courses is essentially an extension of existing programmes, the Bill is concerned largely with the area of the major new initiative in child migrant education^

The Bill, Mr Deputy President, is a relatively short one. The title includes the words 'for immigrants and certain other persons'. The term 'immigrants' is intended to relate to persons who have been admitted to or allowed to remain in Australia indefinitely for residence. The qualification provided by the words 'who are ordinarily resident' in paragraph (b) of subclause 2 of clause 4 excludes from the intended meaning of the word 'immigrants' those persons who do not have resident status in Australia. The Bill therefore does not relate to persons admitted for a limited period of time under temporary entry permit, such as visitors and overseas students. The term 'certain other persons' is intended to include naturalised Australians and the Australian-born offspring of immigrants who require instruction in the English language, as well as those who are immigrants under the definition already described.

The short title - Immigration (Education) Act 1970 - indicates that the source of power for the Bill derives from the immigration provision in the Constitution. Clause 2 of the Bill provides that the date on which the Act will come into operation will be the first day of July 1970. The State education departments and the independent school authorities are being informed that the Commonwealth will meet from existing appropriation costs within the approved programme which are incurred in the special instruction of migrant children as from 1st April 1970. In the defintions clause, clause 3. the intention of the definition 'capital equipment of an educational nature' is where the need for special classes is established that State and independent schools will be provided with Commonwealth funds to purchase equipment of the language laboratory type. The definition of independent school' is consistent with the similar definition used in Acts which provide financal assistance for independent schools under section 96 of the Constitution.

Clause 4 covers in a general way the type of courses which are to be provided and to whom. Non-English speaking immigrants are not specified because English speaking immigrants and their children as well as their non-English speaking counterparts are to be provided with courses in citizenship education which are referred to in paragraph (b) of sub-clause (I.) of clause 4. Paragraph (a) of sub-clause (2.) of clause 4 gives the Minister authority to make arrangements for the provision of courses of. instruction outside Australia, whether in the source country before embarkation or during the voyage to Australia and to adjust these as changing circumstances involving particularly international organisations or overseas governments may require. Clause 5 relates to the proposed new arrangements for the child migrant education programme as well as to existing arrangements for adult migrants and for full lime intensive courses of instruction.

The Department of Education and Science, which will be assisting in the development of the child migrant education programme in the States and will be responsible for producing appropriate teaching materials, will be establishing a committee to advise on the design and content and production of text books and other material for the child programme. The committee will include representatives from State Education Departments as well as the Department of Immigration and the Department of Education and Science. Full scale production of material designed specifically for child migrants will possibly take 2 to 3 years. In the meantime selected materials already used in the adult pro gramme will be made available for use by migrant children.

Clause 6 indicates that subject to regulation a living allowance will be paid to migrant students, other than school children, attending approved courses of instruction. With the introduction early in 1969 of the full time intensive courses, students already attending such courses have been paid a living allowance at the following rates: If in private accommodation, single students will now receive an allowance of S29.I5 per week of which $17.00 is for their accommodation expenses and $12.15 an allowance to meet normal living costs. For the married student, the rate of allowance is $37.00 of which $22.00 relates to accommodation and the balance of $15.00 to other living costs. For the migrant in Commonwealth hostels, the allowance has been such that the normal hostel tariff has been deducted leaving the migrant, if single, a living allowance of $12.15 per week and, if married with a dependent wife, $.15.00 per week with increases according to the number of dependent children in the family.

It has been considered advisable that the rates of living allowance paid to migrant students, other than school children, attending approved courses of instruction and the conditions under which the allowance may be paid should be provided by way of regulation so that the detail of the allowances to bc paid will be laid before the Parliament when the regulations are made. Some State Departments of Education have already taken steps to meet the problems encountered by migrant children in their schools and for this purpose are employing teachers in the special instruction of migrant children. Under the adult programme there are teachers also who would benefit from further training. Clause 7 of the Bill is therefore intended to provide for the training of teachers who may already be engaged in teaching migrant students as well as those who will be selected for training before being so employed. The payment of travelling allowance for teachers attending training courses which is referred to in sub-clause (3.) of clause 7 will be in accordance with the rate of travelling allowance normally payable to Government employees of the State concerned.

Reference was made in the House of Representatives on 23rd April to the need for research in the fields of both adult and child migrant education. Clauses 8 provides authority for the conduct of such research, which will be undertaken by the Department of Immigration and the Department of Education and Science in conjunction with the research units of the State Education Departments and of appropriate tertiary institutions. Clause 9 as a whole is intended to make it clear that the Minister in making arrangements may arrange for payments by the Commonwealth to the other party to the arrangements. Sub-clause (1 .) of clause 9 relates to the programme generally. Sub-clause (2.) of clause 9 relates to certain types of payments, which it was thought desirable to refer to specifically, with respect to arrangements entered into with the government of a State - under- both' the adult programme and the child programme-as well as with an independent school -authority under the child programme.

It may be useful, Mr President, if 1 were to explain that schools which will qualify for financial assistance under the special programme for child migrants will be those where a special teacher is employed. The appointment of a special teacher will in turn require, as a general "rule, a minimum of 30 migrant children in the school in need of special instruction in the English language - though the children may be taught in smaller groups. Financial assistance may also be available where a special teacher is employed at several adjacent schools or pro rata where the special teacher may be required only on a casual or part time basis.

In the statement on 23rd April if was indicated that the Government would finance, in addition to the salary costs of special teachers, the salary costs of necessary supervisory staff. We have decided in paragraph (b) of sub-clause (2.) of clause 9 to adopt the term 'administrative staff' as we believe the former term was not sufficiently wide to cover the adult programme. Administrative staff in the case of the child migrant programme will be concerned essentially with policy formulation, the control, training and development of teaching staff and the inspection and supervision of the programme at the local level. Administrative costs will also include costs normally incidental to salaries of both teachers and administrative staff - payroll tax, workers' compensation and workers' insurance premiums, employer's contribution to superannuation fund and entitlement to long service leave of permanent officers. Under the adult programme, the administrative costs will also include certain operating costs to which the Commonwealth has been committed since 1951 by agreement with the States.

Paragraph (d) of sub-clause (2.) of clause 9 is intended to provide for the situation where the State Education Department or independent school authority may wish to purchase teaching and learning materials which are not suitable for production under the arrangement referred to in clause S but which may be considered necessary to the effective implementation of the child programme. Clause 10 makes the normal provision for the administration of any part of the migrant education programme to be delegated by the Minister and is in accordance with the provision of such delegation used frequently in other Acts. Clause 11 indicates that the funds required from time to time will . be provided under the annual appropriations for the Department of Immigration. Clauses 12 and 13 contain normal legislative provisions for the making of reports and regulations. Thus Parliament will have the opportunity of receiving progress reports on the operation of the programme.

The Bill is intended to give legislative force to the programme of migrant education which the Government believes to be a matter of national importance. Some ยง1.5m has been provided in the current financial year for migrant education. The greater part, $l.2m, is on the adult programme, in which expenditure has been to the order of Sim annually over recent years. We expect to spend $150,000 on intensive courses during 1969-70 and $250,000 on the child programme during the final quarter of the financial year. It is expected, subject to budgetary considerations, that expenditure on the three programmes will rise to $4m in 1970-71 and that funds to the order of $16m will be required over the next 4 financial years. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.

Debate (on motion by Senator Mulvihill) adjourned.

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