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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2522


Mr GORTON (Higgins) told the House that the cost of establishing the proposed National Film and Television School would be 'over $7m during the next 5 years'. In subsequent statements or answers to questions he informed the House that the School would produce 12 graduates a year and that it was doubtful if sufficient attention had been given to the numbers of graduates which the industry would require. I subsequently refuted the 2 latter statements, pointing out that the Interim Council had commissioned a full survey into the needs of the industry - this has now been tabled - and that the number of graduates was planned to be many more than 12 a year even though the number in the initial years may be only slightly more than 12 a year. The corrections I so made have not been questioned except in a minor way by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) tonight and I therefore presume they are admitted.

But I also corrected the statement made by the Minister to the effect that the cost of the School would be over $7m over 5 years. I pointed out that the Minister had included a cost of $2.4m for land for the School whereas the School itself required only 8 acres of land, and that was estimated to cost some $320,000. This assertion of mine has been questioned tonight yet it is correct as I believe the reading of the 2 reports which have been tabled will make crystal clear. All the way through the reports the Committee differentiates between what is required for the Arts Centre, consisting of many schools, and what is required for the School itself. Thus in the recommendations made on page 4 of the first report it is recommended:

That the establishment of the National Film and Television School be regarded as a priority matter, nol to be delayed pending decisions and actions on the proposed Centre.

That is, the larger proposition. On page 15, paragraph 11.5 of the first report, the Committee supports the idea of the larger centre in which:

The Film and Television School would share the common facilities and services with other similarly oriented schools.

In page 17, paragraph 12.3, the Committee states that only Macquarie University appears to have a sufficient area of land immediately adjacent to it not only for the Film and Television School but also for the additional area that might be required for the Centre with its other schools. Past experience in establishing other colleges of advanced education indicates that some 60 acres may well be required. I point out that the Committee is talking of the area required for the Centre, not the area required for the School. Having indicated that 60 acres were needed for the whole Centre, including the Film and Television School, the Committee then went on in its second report at page 7, paragraph 4.5, to say:

The programme as set out in the timetable is applicable whether the Government accepts the recommendations to purchase the larger area required for the Centre -

That is, the 60 acres - or a lesser area sufficient for the Film and Television School alone.

It is clear that the Committee in talking about 60 acres was talking about the area needed for the whole Centre and was urging the Government to go ahead and buy a smaller area sufficient to the School alone if it was not prepared to buy the larger area. Therefore, to take the cost of the larger area and attribute all that cost to the film and television school which only needed a smaller area is to present incorrect figures to the House. I congratulate the Prime Minister on having tabled the 2 reports of the Committee and on having tabled the very extensive survey which was carried out and commissioned by the Interim Council on the requirements of the industry for graduates. I congratulate him because now there are before all honourable members the actual reports of the interim committee, and every member of this Parliament and of the public who is interested will be able to read these reports, to have the factual information in the reports before them and to make up their own minds as to the accuracy of the figures previously presented.

Debate (on motion by Mr Whitlam) adjourned.







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