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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2089

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - Senator Wrighthas asked a large number of questions and I do not know whether I am in a position to provide him with answers to all of them. I merely mention again the fact that a publication called 'Tertiary Allowances Scheme 1974' to which I have already made reference is available. I have suggested a copy be made available to the honourable senator. I think that if the honourable senator reads that publication he will find most of the answers to his questions . in it.

The honourable senator raised the question of tertiary assistance and I assume that the honourable senator was referring to clause 10 which relates to the establishment of the new scheme of tertiary education assistance.

Senator Wright - More particularly to clause 11.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -The honourable senator was talking of full-time and part-time students. Part III of the Bill deals with tertiary education assistance. Clause 10 is the first clause in this section and it states:

An authorised person may, subject to and in accordance with the regulations, approve the grant of Tertiary Education Assistance to a person who is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia and is undertaking, or proposes to undertake, at a tertiary education institution a course of study or instruction approved by the Minister for the purposes of this section.

What I have said- and I say it again- is that most of this information as I see it has been set out in the publication which I will have made available to the honourable senator.

Senator Wright - Will you allow me to beg your pardon?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -By all means. You can beg my pardon. But whether you will get it or not I cannot say. Beg my pardon.

Senator Wright - I have interrupted the Minister to say that this is not the ordinary way in which the Parliament acts. It does not get information from pamphlets as to the content of a statute.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Has the honourable senator finished his remarks?

Senator Wright - Yes. I beg your pardon again.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Thank you. I shall now continue with my remarks. I was saying that the publication entitled 'Tertiary Allowances Scheme 1 974' contains information for applicants. In addition- I was about to add before Senator Wright interjected- the scheme replaces the Commonwealth Universities Scholarships, the Commonwealth Advanced Education Scholarship Scheme and the Commonwealth Technical Scholarship Scheme. The courses approved under the new scheme will include the same range and type of courses formerly approved under the previous 3 schemesthat is, university and advanced education bachelor degree courses, post graduate diplomas, advanced education diplomas, technical college certificates, pre-apprenticeship and preemployment courses and secretarial courses at , technical colleges. The list contained in the publication is not exhaustive.

Assistance will continue to be provided each year to students who meet the rules of progress for their courses. Where illness or other extenuating circumstances may have affected students' performances provision will be available for the payment of repeat benefits. Students may receive assistance to complete more than one course in order to gain specialised qualifications at a particular level, for example, Arts followed by a Diploma of Education or upgrade qualifications or a course at a technical college followed by an Engineering degree at a university. Except in the case of approved combined courses a student may not receive assistance for the same year of courses of similar standing, but would be eligible for assistance in the later years of a longer second course, for example, a Medicine degree following a 3-year Arts degree eligible in the fourth year of a medical course.

The honourable senator also made reference to clause 1 1. 1 wish to inform him that benefits to a part-time student are limited to the payment of fees, if any. It is understood that few students will be involved since the great majority of approved part-time courses will come under the general arrangements for financing tertiary education and no fees will be payable.

Full time students may, subject to a means test, qualify for a living allowance at a maximum rate of $850 per annum if they are living at home or $1,400 if they are living away from home or where they have been granted independent status. In addition the student who qualifies for a living allowance will be entitled to an incidentals allowance to assist in meeting costs of fees, such as students representative council fees and union and sporting fees. The allowance may also help with the purchase of books and equipment. The amount of the incidentals allowance varies according to the institution attended; for example, it is $100 at universities, $70 at colleges of advanced education or teachers colleges and the like and $30 at technical colleges. Students who qualify for a living allowance may also receive a dependant's allowance and the cost of 3 return trips per annum between their homes and the institution if they live away from home.

Senator Wrighthas said that it is unusual that a parliament should be dealing with matters of this nature without the regulations. Perhaps what he says in that regard has some merit. All I can say is that the Scholarships Act 1 969 which was brought into existence by the previous Government has not been proclaimed as at this date and that the date of the draft regulations to which I alluded earlier and which were incorporated in Hansard was 30 January 1973, which is shortly after this Government came into office. Realising that there would be changes, and there have been changes, in the types of assistance and benefits made available to students, the draft regulations that were being worked on for the best part of 3.5 years have now been used as the foundation for the new regulations which are embodied in this legislation. Parliamentary counsel are working on them and with their cooperation and that of the Department of Education it is believed that the regulations will be ready before the end of January.

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