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Wednesday, 23 May 1973
Page: 2474

Mr OLDMEADOW (HOLT, VICTORIA) - Is the Minister for Education aware that the Government's decision to spend $188m for teacher education in the next 2i years has aroused the wrath of the Victorian Teachers Union? The Union claims that the amount offered to Victoria is $3 3m less than the amount established by the 1969 needs survey.

Mr BEAZLEY (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Education) - The Victorian Secondary Teachers' Association expressed the opinion that the Victorian Government would not be able to spend the money and the Victorian Teachers' Union has come in with a different opinion. The first thing I would like to say about the statement of the Victorian Teachers' Union is that that body is comparing unlike. The Cohen report dealt with the financial needs of institutions. The needs survey of 1969 dealt with the financial needs of institutions plus student allowances. So the amount of money that Victoria will spend on student allowances is not allowed for in the statement of the amount of money that will become available for Victorian teacher education. Therefore, the comparison is quite false.

Secondly, I would say that the Cohen report is the most systematic study of teacher education in Australia since the Martin report. The Martin report made recommendations which included a share of finance for a former Commonwealth government which was not accepted by that Commonwealth government. The Cohen report is based on the evidence of State governments and its own study in teachers' colleges and in pre-school teachers' colleges. It is a thorough study - a more thorough study than comments by the needs survey, even though, as I have said, the two are not comparable because the Cohen report does not take into account student allowances.

It is also quite a misrepresentation to suggest that the needs survey - and this is a persistent habit of some of these unions - stated that all the money to be found for education in Australia in 5 years was to come from the Commonwealth Government. It made no such statement. Almost all of the money that will be provided for the needs of institutions under this plan will come from the Commonwealth Government. In fact, we have gone $104m beyond the recommendations of the Cohen Committee which recommended $84m as the Commonwealth contribution. We have assumed a load of $188m. The Victorian Teachers' Union also has made comments about what we are going to do about student allowances. This proposition is for grants to the States. We are not taking over the administration of education in Victoria. The Victorian Govern ment can decide its own student allowances and whether or not students will be bonded. The proposition to grant Commonwealth finance to teacher institutions for the benefit of the State governments is not the assumption of the administration of these institutions which, I hope, will be independent and autonomous; nor does it determine any relationship between the Victorian Government and its trainee teachers which seems to be the assumption underlying the criticism.

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