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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 3975

Mr Coates asked the Minister for Education, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to a report that the annual conference of the Australian High School Principals' Association expressed concern that nongovernment schools will receive more public finance than government schools for the next 2 years.

(2)   If so, are the Association's estimates, that in the years' 1974 and 1975 government schools will receive an average of $65,000 each and non-government schools will receive an average of $85,000 each, correct.

(3)   If the estimates are correct, does the sum for non-government schools represent direct grants only, or are indirect subsidies included.

(4)   If the estimates are not correct, will he supply the correct estimates for (a) direct grants and (b) indirect subsidies, including in respect of (b) the costs to the Australian Government, State governments and local government bodies of (i) tax deductions for education expenses, (ii) rates exemptions, (iii) tax exemptions, (iv) transport subsidies, (v) facilitation of purchasing, (vi) examination and inspectorial services and (vii) teacher and inservice training.

(5)   Were all indirect subsidies to non-government primary and secondary schools taken into account by the interim committee for the Australian Schools Commission in its report.

(6)   Do indirect subsidies bear any relationship to the needs of schools.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) The report referred to has apparently been based on a calculation in which the amounts of money recommended for government and nongovernment schools in the Report of the Interim Schools Committee have been divided respectively by the number of government schools and non-government schools, without regard to enrolments. The Association's estimates do not provide a correct basis of comparison since schools in both government and nongovernment systems vary in size. In particular, the cost per government school is depressed because of the large number of small schools which governments are obliged to maintain in rural areas. For example, 51 per cent of government primary schools have less than 100 pupils, while a similar figure for nongovernment schools is 31 per cent.

(3)   and (4) Indirect assistance of the sort referred to is not included in the figures quoted. It is not possible to forecast at this stage the cost of such indirect assistance to non-government schools in 1974 and 1975. The cost of direct grants from the Australian Government in the two-year period under the Karmel recomendations and other on-going programs is presently estimated at $201m for non-government schools and $497m for government schools.

(5)   and (6) In examining the level of resource use by either an individual school or a system, the Interim Committee examined expenditure on the provision of staff and other amounts expended on running expenses within schools as detailed in paragraph 6.2 of the Report of the Interim Schools Committee. To the extent that indirect subsidies assisted in raising the resource usage of schools they were taken into account.

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