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Wednesday, 10 October 1973
Page: 1901

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) (Minister for Education) - I thank the honourable gentleman for raising this subject because I think it will give me a chance to dissipate certain misconceptions. Let us be perfectly clear about this question of boarding. Many schools have put in mistaken returns exactly on this element, and the consideration of these in appeal will no doubt change their classification. To illustrate this, I take the instance of, say, a house master who spends seveneighths of his time with the boarders and one-eighth with his teacher. He may have been put in the return and his full salary put in as a teacher. Let us say he was receiving $10,000 a year. If seven-eighths of his time was spent in the boarding school, looking after the children in resident and only one-eighth of his time as a teacher, he would not be worth $10,000 as a resource of that school but only $1,250. If he was put in the return as a full member of the staff, that would affect the category of the school. As this analysis does change the category of the schools, there are some schools which I think will drop through quite a number of categories. Boarding facilities, the cost of boarding and all those things are liabilities to a school and are not included in the level of assets, the recurring resources that would be taken into consideration for the day school aspect, and the Karmel report deals alone with the day school aspect.

Let me put to the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) that there are one or two other considerations that are never raised in this matter. In the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, like Louis XIV, *I am the State as well as the Commonwealth', and we have been granting a State component grant to non-government schools and a Commonwealth grant. For instance, a school in the ACT that is classified A received $104 a year from the Commonwealth as our State grant and another $104 a year as our Commonwealth grant, making $208 altogether. If such a school is classified A, under the new proposals the Commonwealth grant will phase out but the State grant will continue. The Karmel report asks the States to continue grants. The real problem is in New South Wales where, with great respect, I draw the attention of honourable members opposite to the fact that the Liberal-Country Party Government gives nothing at the secondary level. It is the only government in Australia which gives nothing. The honourable gentleman has referred to the isolated children's scheme. When I brought in the isolated children's scheme the Western Australian Government went out of the isolated children's scheme and used the $810,000 it saved to make grants to nongovernment schools and to raise them to the $104 level. The New South Wales Government makes a grant to families of $88 per child if the child is going to a private secondary school if the parental income is below $7,000 a year - this is the grant that will commence under the new New South Wales Budgetbut it is of no advantage to the school. If the child getting the $88 goes to a Catholic school whose fees are $150, that child pays $62 plus the $88. The school gets nothing but its $150 fees.

Mr MacKellar - What about the parents?

Mr BEAZLEY - The parents get the assistance. But the Opposition's criticism is on grants to A class schools. The Opposition is not asking us -

Mr MacKellar - The school is made up of pupils.

Mr BEAZLEY - But the honourable gentleman will be aware that his own Government, in making the grant of $104 per secondary pupil and $62 per primary pupil, made those grants to the schools and it is the withdrawal of grants to the schools that we are discussing. If the honourable member wants to talk about assistance to parents, the isolated children's grant is the phasing in form of assistance to parents. Our hardship grant to be introduced next year will be the phasing in of a form of assistance to parents. We hope to extend that right through the secondary level as time goes on.

Mr Lloyd - Will you in time apply a means test to parents of pupils in government schools in the way you have in the case of the private schools?

Mr BEAZLEY - There is no means test applied to the private schools. It is useless to talk about a means test applied to a school. A means test can be applied only to a parent. The Karmel exercise presupposed that the States make a basic grant to non-government schools, and on top of this the Commonwealth Government comes in. There are State schools created by the State governments, and there are private schools registered by the State governments. That is entirely an action of the State. The Commonwealth looked at the situation on both the State school side and the nongovernment school side and made an analysis of their resources. An average was taken -

Mr MacKellar - What about-

Mr BEAZLEY - 'Please stop interrupting me if you want the matter explained. Thu is a difficult thing to explain. Just give me a chance if this is a serious debate. The Karmel analysis was that the resources deployed behind the education of an average child in State secondary schools was $511 per student. The Committee analysed the resources of the nongovernment schools on the information provided by the non-government schools themselves. The Committee found that the resources of those schools ranged from $204 a student to $1,380 a student - from 40 per cent of the State school average to 270 per cent of the State school average. The Karmel exercise, which no political party had ever anticipated, stated that a dignified standard of education for every child is 40 per cent above the existing State school level, which would be $715 per pupil at 1973 values of the dollar. It stated that all schools below that level should be raised to that level. To do that will cost $2,000m at the 1973 value of the dollar over 6 years. The school at the $1,380 level does not need to be raised to the $715 level.

Mr MacKellar - What about the State schools?

Mr BEAZLEY - The grants are weighted for State schools in precisely the same way. The States were asked to nominate disadvantaged schools. That is why there is a special grant for disadvantaged schools. There are special grants for the education of handicapped children, where there are very big gaps. The weighting is on both sides. This is why New South Wales and Victoria will be granted the greatest amount of money for disadvantaged schools. I am not in a position to answer the honourable member's questions on A class schools. Some 180 schools-

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