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Monday, 6 December 2004
Page: 117

Senator ALLISON (9:22 PM) —Firstly, I acknowledge Senator Carr's criticism of the AGSRC and I acknowledge that it is certainly a flawed mechanism for determining or even understanding the level of funding for government schools. But, sadly, we are left with very little else by way of measuring what is reasonable and what is not. Certainly, the SES funding model does not work—it is inequitable. So it is a best attempt and one would hope that, should this be supported, the government would look at the adequacy of funding of government schools. If parents are saying, `We'll shell out a bit more to get a better education for our children,' then something must be wrong with the level of resources that is available to schools on the basis of the AGSRC.

The other point I would make, Minister, about the states approving the location is a pretty obvious one and that is about wasted resources. It is about the states being involved in the location of schools and I do not see a problem with that. If a school is not needed in a particular location, perhaps because the state plan to put a school there themselves or because it would threaten the viability of government schools or even other non-government schools, I think it is reasonable for state governments to be involved in that decision. The ALP used to talk about this. I do not know whether they are still interested in this question of the location of schools and whether they think schools should bob up willy-nilly all over the place regardless of whether the state or territory government thinks it is wise. It seems to us to be sensible to involve the states in decision making about where schools are located.