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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2129


The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The speech read as follows)-

On 23 August 1973 my colleague the Honourable Kim E. Beazley made a statement to the House of Representatives on Government initiatives in education. At that time he indicated that the Australian Government would assume full financial responsibility for tertiary education from January 1974, and also tuition fees at universities, colleges of advanced education, teachers colleges and technical colleges. The purpose of this legislation is to implement that policy with regard to university education.

In addition, provision is made in the Bill for a number of other matters which are being implemented as a result of Government decisions. In accordance with established practice, provision of supplementary grants to universities is included to meet the costs of academic salary increases from 1 January 1973 as a consequence of recommendations made by Mr Justice Campbell and to allow for salary increases due to the national wage case decision in May 1973. As indicated by my colleague, the Treasurer (Mr Crean), in the Budget Speech, the Australian Government has decided to establish a National School of Management Education at the University of New South Wales, and provision is made for recurrent and building grants. An extension of grants to two more universities to increase the numbers of qualified social workers in the community, which has been announced as Government policy, is included. This is in addition to grants provided in legislation already passed by the Parliament for the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne. The Premiers of all the States have agreed to the major policy change which is incorporated in this Bill and have been informed of details of additional grants.

Turning to the Bill itself, I should point out that its primary purpose is to amend the existing States Grants (Universities) Act 1972-1973 to remove the need for State Government matching contributions of finance to universities in 1974 and 1975. Section 4 provides, amongst other things, for the abolition of tuition fees. Section 5 outlines new approved rates of remuneration for academic staff. In section 6 of the Bill provision is made, amongst other things, for a capital grant of up to $1.8m to erect buildings to house a National School of Management Education.

Recurrent expenditure for this project is provided in the First Schedule to the Bill.

In accordance with this Government's desire to increase the output of graduate social workers, additional grants to the University of Queensland and Monash University are included at section 15. Apart from the amounts for social work $125,000 and Management Education approximately $2.3m, the additional funds available to the universities $76m are entirely accounted for by salary increases and do not represent an expansion in the universities' programs of real expenditure. The basic programs as recommended by the Australian Universities Commission in its fifth report of 1972 are unchanged. The assumption of full financial responsibility and the abolition of fees from 1 January 1974 will involve the Australian Government in additional expenditure of $447m for the years 1974 and 1975. 1 commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Rae) adjourned.







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