Commonwealth Bank of Australia sponsors News Ltds Free Books for Schools promotion nationally

26 June 2002

News Limited and the Commonwealth Bank today announced the Bank's sponsorship of this year's Free Books for Schools program.

Free Books for Schools is a News Limited initiative that was launched in NSW and the ACT last year.

This year, school students, their parents and friends around Australia can obtain free books for their school library by collecting and redeeming tokens printed daily in participating News Limited daily newspapers.

Last year, the program delivered almost 60,000 free books to the 70 percent of NSW schools that registered to participate.

Following its success, Free Books for Schools has been extended beyond the ACT and NSW to Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria, NSW and South Australia. About 150,000 books are expected to be distributed.

Mr David Murray, Managing Director of the Commonwealth Bank, said the bank had sponsored the Free Books for Schools program because there were such strong synergies with its commitment to education.

"At the Commonwealth Bank, we think it's incredibly important for children to increase their literacy and numeracy skills. We've been helping young Australians since 1931 through education programs that encourage children to develop strong financial life skills. More recently we made seventy $5,000 E-Learning grants to primary schools across Australia.

"In today's digital age, there are so many choices for children both on an education and recreation level, but it's books that help us to cultivate a life-long love for knowledge and learning - no matter what the subject is or how old we are. The Commonwealth Bank is pleased to join with News Limited for this year's Free Books for Schools program and we share their ongoing commitment to developing student literacy in Australia," said Mr Murray.

News Limited's chief executive officer, John Hartigan, said that with the Commonwealth Bank's support, the Free Books for Schools promotion would benefit thousands more Australian school students.

"With its history of supporting education programs, The Commonwealth Bank was a natural choice to sponsor Free Books for Schools.

"Since its launch last year, we've had an overwhelming response from schools and students around Australia.

"The wider community, in collecting tokens for small and remote schools, deserve special congratulations. I'm sure this community spirit will be seen again through our expanded program, " Mr Hartigan said

The registration period for the promotion opened in June for the ACT and all participating states.