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Tuesday, 13 March 1973
Page: 467

Mr MATHEWS (CASEY, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Can he say whether the Government is providing aid for schools in exact accord with the program outlined in his policy speech? When does he expect to receive the report of the Interim Committee for Australian Schools Commission and to act on that report? Will he assure the House that this timetable will enable school authorities to complete their preparations for the 1974 school year before the beginning of the first school term?

Mr WHITLAM - A week after I was sworn as Prime Minister, while I was still Minister for Education, I appointed an Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission to recommend the needs and priorities upon which the Australian Government could assist government and nongovernment schools in Australia to provide equal opportunities for all Australians of school age. I have kept regularly in touch with my colleague the Minister for Education in regard to the deliberations of the interim committee. I have met the Chairman, Professor Karmel, on several occasions since it was appointed. I can assure the honourable gentleman that it is expected that the interim committee's report will be made available as requested before the end of May. This will mean that it will be available in sufficient time to be considered at the Premiers Conference which should be held in June or maybe, if the House gets up early enough, even in May. In those circumstances the State governments and the non-government school authorities will have ample opportunity to prepare for the 1974 scholastic year in the light of the additional funds which it is expected the Australian Government will make available for schools and which I expect the Australian Parliament will enact in about September next.

Mr SPEAKER -I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - Mr Speaker, I am sorry to keep honourable members-

Mr WHITLAM - In that case, I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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