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Wednesday, 2 October 1974
Page: 1585

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no dissent, leave is granted.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -On 13 March 1973 the Government approved the establishment of an inter-departmental committee to inquire into the nature and extent of supplies and shortages of text and reference books required by primary, secondary and tertiary students; and recommend means of improving supplies and overcoming the shortages. Members of the Committee were drawn from the Department of the Media- chairman and secretarial services- and the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasury and Education.

I now table a copy of the Committee's report. The Government has accepted the following recommendations of the Committee:

(   1 ) That the national Curriculum Development Centre, in consultation with State and Federal education authorities, examine the desirability of co-ordinated long-term planning arrangements for the supply of basic teaching materials for the educational process.

(2)   That closed market arrangements within the Australian book trade be referred to the Commissioner for Trade Practices for examination.

(3)   That the Department of Transport be asked to advise on commercially viable ways in which improved transportation of books from Britain and the United States of America may be brought about.

(4)   That the Book Manufacturing Advisory Panel be asked to advise on the practicability of producing commercially in Australia local requirements of important text and reference books from reproduction materials obtained from overseas publishers.

(   5 ) That the Australian Government Departments of Education and Labor and Immigration in consultation with State technical education authorities explore the possibility of planning and co-ordinating at national level the production of core technical textbooks and manuals suited to the industrial techniques and conditions applying in Australia.

(6)   That the Curriculum Development Centre look for means to rectify the shortage of educational materials specifically designed Tor the needs of disadvantaged groups in the community- for example, migrants with language difficulties and slow learners.

(7)   That State education authorities be encouraged to consider the desirability of further application of the bulk buying principle, in light of the demonstrated benefits obtained by the Western Australian Government.

The Government has referred the Committee's recommendations for consideration by the appropriate Australian Government Ministers and has agreed that I should table the report of the inter-departmental committee.

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