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States Grants (Primary and Secondary
Education Assistance) Amendment Bill 1998
Date Introduced: 11 November 1998
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Education, Training and Youth Affairs
Commencement: On Royal Assent.
provides for a number of amendments to the States Grants
(Primary and Secondary Education Assistance) Act 1996 (the
Act). The main ones provide:
- $21 million for the introduction of Full Service Schools
program over three years from 1998 and
- $40.2 million for the extension of the National Asian Languages
and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) strategy.
This Bill was originally introduced on 25 June
1998 but lapsed when Parliament was prorogued on 31 August 1998. It
is now being reintroduced with minor monetary changes reflecting
The Bill gives effect to initiatives announced
in the 1998-99 Budget. These include the introduction of Youth
Allowance - a major new social policy reform of income support,
which began on 1 July 1998.
Youth Allowance is aimed at encouraging young
people under 18 years to complete their schooling, or if they leave
school early, to move on to further training or employment.
In order to receive the Youth Allowance from
January 1999, eligible young people under 18 years who have not
completed Year 12 or equivalent must be in full-time education or
training unless specifically exempted.
Full Service Schools
The Commonwealth has established the Full
Service Schools program in order to cover additional costs
associated with the Youth Allowance initiative. Funding for the
program aims to address the specific needs of young people
returning to school following changes to the Youth Allowance and
for current students who are at risk of not completing Year 12, or
making a successful transition from school to work. The Program
will target students who are not likely to benefit from mainstream
learning pathways. Funds will be directed towards:
- the employment of specialist teachers or counsellors
- providing professional development for teachers and other
- delivering and developing special courses associated with
pre-vocational education or training, and
- assisting students to access government and community support
Funding will be provided to schools in areas
with the highest numbers of young people affected by the
implementation of the Youth Allowance.
Steering Committees will manage the
implementation of the Full Service Schools program in each State
The NALSAS Strategy is a cooperative initiative
between Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. The Strategy
assists government and non-government schools to improve
participation and proficiency levels in four targeted Asian
languages. They are:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- Indonesian, and
The major collaborative activities are in three
broad areas. They are:
- professional development for teachers
- development of proficiency outcomes for students and teachers,
- curriculum materials.
The strategy also introduces or increases Asian
studies content across the curriculum in order to improve
Australia's capacity and preparedness to interact with key Asian
The 1998-99 Budget provided for funds of $40.2
million to take the NALSAS program through to the end of 1999. This
extra funding aims to provide continued support to teachers and
students. Commonwealth funding is matched by States and
The Bill also contains provisions which:
- change the funding schedules for Literacy and Country Areas
programs for 1999 and 2000
- from 1999, enable the Minister to vary funding provided to
education authorities under the Literacy and Country Areas
- change funding schedules to insert amounts of capital funding
for 2001, 2002 and 2003(3)
- vary the amounts of 1997 and 1998 recurrent and capital grants
in respect of the 1997 and 1998 supplementation and provide for its
flow on effects for 1999 and 2000
- rectify an inadvertent omission in the Act to provide for
grants for expenditure on special education services to be provided
under the legislation
- incorporate a technical amendment to define the role of the
Governor-General in making regulations under the Act, and
- incorporate a minor stylistic change to the format of the
Clause 7 adds to the provisions
relating to grants to meet special learning needs. This clause
provides for funding for projects to assist students who return to
school because of the introduction of the youth allowance and to
assist students to complete senior secondary education and to make
a successful transition from school to training, further education
Clause 10 updates funding
amounts for students with disabilities attending government schools
from 1997 initial prices to 1998 final prices.
Clause 11 clarifies the full
range of special education services able to be supported under the
Act and in particular ensures that grants to non-government centres
are not limited to special education activities conducted
at non-government centres.
Clauses 12 and 13 updates
funding amounts for recurrent expenditure on education in English
as a second language for eligible new arrivals.
Clause 15 inserts a new section
76A to allow the Minister to approve projects under the Full
Service Schools program which provides additional funding for
schools, industry and community groups to assist in alleviating the
concerns of parents, the community and young people following the
introduction of the youth allowance.
Clauses 16-18 provides that the
Minister rather than the Governor-General is responsible for
determining cost supplementation amounts prior to the
Governor-General making a regulation under section 78.
Clause 20 makes changes to the
cost supplementation to reflect the introduction of the Full
Service Schools program by Clause 15.
Clause 21 inserts a new section
78A to allow the Minister to make a determination during a program
year varying some or all of the amounts of the Grants Under the
Literacy Program. The amounts are set out in Schedule 6.
Clause 23 inserts new
subsections 79(2A) and (2B) to allow the Minister to make a
determination during a program year varying some or all of the
amounts of the Grants Under the Country Areas Program. The amounts
are set out in Schedule 8.
Clause 24 amends the tables in
Schedules 1-8 to update all legislated funding amounts from 1997
initial prices to 1998 initial prices. This clause also inserts a
new Column 7 in Schedule 8 to reflect the introduction of the Full
Service Schools Program.
Clause 25 inserts a new
definition of 'youth allowance' for the purposes of the Full
Service Schools Program. Qualification for youth allowance is set
out in Part 2.11 of the Social Security Legislation Amendment
(Youth Allowance) Act 1998.
Estimates on the number of young people likely
to either stay at or return to school because of the Youth
Allowance requirements vary considerably. In August 1997 the
increase in student numbers was placed between 25 000 to 27 000.(4)
In May 1998 a press release issued by the former Shadow Minister
for Education and Youth Affairs stated that a Cabinet submission
had recommended expenditure of $140 million to compensate schools
for this increase.(5) Official estimates have since been revised
dramatically downwards with a current figure of 8 200 now being
mooted.(6) The current proposal to allocate $21 million over three
years for the Full Service Schools program signifies a sharp
contrast with the figures quoted in the alleged Cabinet
In Victoria, a recent State Government report
estimates that 6 000 young people will be required to return to
some form of education or training in that State alone.(7) The
report projects an immediate increase in 1999 of between 1 350 and
4 700 students staying at school with a further 1 000 to 4 000 who
may be required to return to school.(8)
Although the likely impact on schools generally
is difficult to predict, it may be reasonable to assume that a
disproportionate burden will fall on those schools in areas of high
There is evidence that new policy initiatives
like the Full Service Schools program and the Youth Allowance may
adversely affect the teaching profession. Low morale, the
attractiveness and, ultimately, the status of the teaching
profession has recently been considered in a report by the Senate
Inquiry into the Status of the Teaching Profession.(9) Evidence
presented to the inquiry revealed concerns about the increasing
pressures on schools and on individual teachers in particular. The
Inquiry's report remarked that many teachers have identified
relentless change as a key contributor to the sense of crisis
infecting the profession.(10) More recently, a report commissioned
by the Australian Council of Deans of Education predicts supply for
primary teachers will drop from 89 per cent of demand in 1999 to 81
per cent of demand in 2004. A greater shortfall is expected for
secondary teachers in 1999. Supply is expected to be only 75 per
cent of demand with an ultimate projection of 66 per cent for the
- State and Territory Steering Committees will consist of
representatives of government and non-government education
authorities, the Commonwealth, principals' organisations and parent
- Education authorities include those from State and Territory
government and non-government sectors.
- Capital funding relates to government and non-government
- Australia. Senate. Employment, Education and Training
Legislation Committee, Hansard, 18 August 1997, p.19.
- Australia. Shadow Minister for Education and Youth Affairs (Mr
M. Latham), 'Budget short changes schools,' Media release,
13 May 1998.
- Special Education Section, Literacy and Special Programs
Branch, Schools Division, DETYA. The figure is an agreed figure
between DETYA, the former DSS and Centrelink.
- Dwyer, Peter et al., Negotiating staying and returning:
young people's perspective's on schooling and the youth
allowance, Dept. of Education, Victoria, 1998, p. 27.
- Ibid., p. 29.
- Senate Employment, Education and Training References Committee,
A Class Act: Inquiry into the Status of the Teaching
Profession, The Senate, March 1998, p.8.
- Ibid., Chapter 5, pp 95-105.
- Preston, Barbara, Teacher supply and demand to 2004:
updated projections, Australian Council of Deans Education,
Canberra, 1998, p.3.
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