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Wednesday, 30 April 1980
Page: 1948

Senator LAJOVIC -Has the Minister representing the Minister for Education noted an article in yesterday's Sun stating that 400 school staff face dismissal because of falling enrolments in many schools? Can the Minister inform the Senate whether the statement is correct? If it is, how significant is the fall in enrolments and which schools are mainly affected?

Senator CARRICK - A number of reports on these matters have been drawn to my attention. I asked the Commonwealth Department of Education to give me some information on the matter. I am advised that the Commonwealth Department of Education has recently released details of enrolments in government and nongovernment schools for 1 979 and projections for future years. These show an overall decline for all schools in Australia of approximately 5,000- that is, 0.2 per cent in 1979- compared with a decline of 18,000, or 0.8 per cent, in government schools and an increase of 13,000, or 2 per cent, in non-government schools. For 1980, total enrolments are projected to decline by between 6,000 and 7,000-0.2 per cent- with government school enrolments declining by 20,000 and non-government enrolments increasing by 14,000. The trends vary between the States. I will seek leave to have information concerning what I have said incorporated in Hansard.

Despite the falling enrolments in government schools and the fact that, on average, the Karmel resource targets have been achieved, the Commonwealth has maintained in 1980 the real level of its direct general recurrent funds for government schools in the States. In this way, the Government is maintaining its level of support for the staffing and other recurrent resources already achieved by government schools. I have not seen the Sun newspaper report, but there appears to be no basis for any such reduction in school staff.

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted for the incorporation in Hansard of the material referred to by the Minister?

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-

In NSW, Tor example, total enrolments in 1980 are projected to remain unchanged. However, government enrolments are projected to decline by approximately 6,000 or 0.7 per cent and non-government enrolments are projected to increase by 6,000 or 2.5 per cent.

Senator McLAREN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I ask that the document from which the Minister quoted be tabled.

Senator CARRICK -I am happy to do so. The document is a briefing from the Commonwealth Department of Education. It has been incorporated in Hansard.

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