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Tuesday, 1 October 1974
Page: 1497

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

This Bill provides grants for universities for a number of purposes- for universities to undertake programs high in the Government's social and educational purposes. Special grants are to be available to specified universities to increase teaching and research in special education of the handicapped, to establish courses or chairs of community practice associated with community health centres, and to increase the number of social workers in training. We believe these programs will produce sound professional staff and add to the community's capacity to meet needs in these fields.

Secondly, funds are to be provided to the University of Newcastle to allow for planning a new medical school in accordance with recommendations of the Committee on Medical Schools of the Universities Commission. Thirdly, the Bill provides for an Australian Government contribution towards the costs of acquiring the site for a new university at Campbelltown, New South Wales. Further assistance towards the development of this university will be provided when the Government considers the recommendations of the Universities Commission for the triennium 1976-78.

The Bill provides for administrative matters which have arisen since legislation on grants to universities was passed by the Parliament during the Autumn sittings of 1 973. Monash University proposed to speed the introduction of a social work course and special assistance was provided for this purpose. Unfortunately, the University found that it was unable to achieve its objective, and the additional earmarked grant is to be repealed. In the legislation enacted during the 1973 Budget sittings provision was also made in Part IV of the First Schedule to the Act to establish a School of Management Education at the University of New South Wales. Necessary amendments in Parts II and III of the First Schedule to accord with this provision were overlooked. This Bill makes the necessary machinery amendment although this does not represent any increase in the commitment of funds beyond that already intended in the previous legislation.

When the Australian Government assumed full financial responsibility for tertiary education from January 1974 amendment was necessary for proportions of payments to be made by State Governments. In section 8 of the principal Act related to student residential accommodation the word 'one-twelfth' was included as the States' share but this related to total cost and not to the amounts shown in the relevant Schedule attached to the Act which represent the Australian Government contribution. It is necessary to amend the proportion from 'one-twelfth' to one-eighth'. The State Governments are aware of the need for this particular amendment to the legislation.

As I have already mentioned, the Australian Government assumed full responsibility for the financing of tertiary education from 1 January 1974 and since that time it has become evident that one of the exceptions contained in the existing definition of 'fees' in the principal Act relating to fees payable to student organisations requires clarification. Provision has been made in the Bill to provide for this clarification. The purpose of the Bill is to amend the existing States Grants (Universities) Act 1972-1973 to make the. financial provisions and the necessary machinery and administrative amendments I have mentioned. The measures included in the Bill require a financial commitment of $840,000 for capital expenditure and $345,000 in 1974 and $563,000 in 1975 for recurrent purposes. I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Rae) adjourned.

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