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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1869

Senator SIM (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education. Is the Government aware of the hardships caused to families living in remote areas of Australia by the Government's action in reducing the education deduction for taxation purposes from $400 to $ 1 50? Is the Government concerned that the families affected do not belong to the wealthy class or send their children to so-called wealthy schools? What action does the Government propose to take to protect these parents and their children from the folly of the Government's action?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -The honourable senator will be aware, when he criticises this Government in regard to its education policy generally, that this Government has spent more on education than has any other government since Federation. The honourable senator also refers to the problems of people in isolated areas insofar as those problems relate to the rearing of families and giving their children educational assistance. When members of the present Opposition were in government there was a lot of talk but little action about what was going to be done to assist children in isolated areas educationally. I well recall the whole question being referred to a Senate standing committee for consideration. One of the first things this Government did when it came into office was to move in the area of giving very substantial assistance to parents of children in isolated areas for educational purposes. I believe that the benefits accruing to the children in isolated areas as a result of the assistance given by the Government under its isolated children's program far outweigh any criticism that is now offered by the honourable senator.

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