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Tuesday, 13 March 1973
Page: 461

Mr LUCOCK (LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Education whether he can give the House information regarding progress in moves to introduce legislation to assist pre-school kindergartens, especially in regard to the payment of salaries to the teaching staff.

Mr BEAZLEY (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Education) - I draw the honourable member's attention to the fact that on 19th February I announced the formation of the Australian Pre-schools Committee to make recommendations to the Commonwealth Government. The terms of reference were released on 2nd March. The Committee is having its first meeting today and tomorrow and after a reasonable time of investigation it will be bringing down recommendations to the Government. Normally I would expect that its recommendations would be operating from 1st January 1974. But this does not preclude the right of the Committee to make emergency recommendations to the Government for earlier action than that. All I can say to the honourable member is that this is an expert committee designed to make recommendations to the Commonwealth Government as to how it should exercise its powers under section 96 of the Constitution to make grants to the States and also as to direct action in its Territories. I believe that the Committee will necessarily have to make, recommendations concerning Commonwealth assistance for the employment of teachers. So far what has been done is to create a Commonwealth system of kindergarten teacher scholarships, which is already in operation. I am not yet in a position to inform the honourable member as to when the Committee will make recommendations about Commonwealth grants for the recurring expenses of kindergartens, pre-schools and child-care centres.

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