A Productivity Commission report into childcare, education and training has shown that per student growth in federal government funding for private schools was ten times greater than growth in public school funding over the year 2016-17.
The most recent figures in the Report into Government Services (ROGS) show that, under the current federal Liberal government, annual per student growth in private schools funding was 3.7%, compared with only 0.36% for public schools.
According to the report, non-government school funding per student has grown 2.7 times faster than public school funding per student over the past decade. In the ten years to 2016-17 federal government funding for non-government schools rose by 28.7%. Meanwhile, federal government funding for public schools only increased by 10.8% in the same period.
This report follows announcements this week that the Catholic school sector will receive more than $4.1 billion in additional federal funds from the Morrison government over the next decade.
Australian Education Union President Correna Haythorpe said the gap in funding growth between public and private schools is rapidly accelerating under the Morrison government. She said the government must use April’s federal budget to reverse its $14 billion in funding cuts to public schools.
“In terms of funding per student, ROGS shows that per-student growth in government funding for private schools has been ten times greater than that for public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“It also showed government funding for public schools has grown by only 10.8% over the past ten years, whereas government funding for private schools has grown by 28.7%,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“The report shows that the federal Liberal government’s 2017 school funding legislation entrenches inequality, preferences private schools over public schools and denies public schools the resources needed to provide a high quality education for their students,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“This is a direct result of the Liberal government’s change to school funding. Under the original Gonski plan, needs-based funding was being delivered to the schools that needed it the most.”
“The Morrison government has turned its back on public schools. ROGS provides the evidence that it has clearly preferred private schools while it is public schools that have been denied the funding needed and will not reach 100% of the Schooling Resource School under their plan.
“This is patently unfair to Australia’s 2.5 million public school students, who deserve a high-quality and well-resourced education.”
“These figures show growth in government funding of public schools has gone backwards in relation to that of non-government schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“It is an appalling situation which entrenches inequality. However it is of little surprise when the Morrison government is trying to use private school spending to prop up its chances at the next election by handing a $4.6 billion special funding deal to private schools.”
“The private school system is enjoying the benefits of the special funding deals and favouritism it has been shown by the Morrison government,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“This makes a mockery of the Morrison government’s claims to observe equitable needs-based funding and sector blindness.
“Public school funding has been growing at a slower rate than that of private schools for a decade. The Morrison government must use the federal budget to restore the $14 billion it has stripped from public schools. Public school students can’t wait any longer – they need that extra funding now.”
“We will campaign hard on the Morrison government’s inequality for public schools in the lead up to the next election,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“We need a government that puts public schools first, and we welcome the commitment from Labor to restore the $14 billion that the Morrison government has cut from public schools.”
MEDIA CONTACT: NICK BUCHAN, 0418 288 104