State government must address chronic underfunding of public schools and TAFEs

Victorian public schools are the second lowest funded schools in the nation, as detailed by the latest Report on Government Services.

The report, produced by the Productivity Commission, shows that each Victorian public school student received $893 less that the national average from the Victorian and Federal governments or over $575 million in 2020-2021.  

Australian Education Union Victorian Branch President Meredith Peace described the low funding for public schools as reprehensible.

“Victorian public schools cater for the overwhelming majority of students in this state. They should be fully and fairly funded.

“Instead, public school teachers, principals and education support staff are forced to make up the shortfall through unsustainable workloads and the purchase of classroom supplies from their own pockets, while families of students are called on to make increasing contributions for education essentials such as education and welfare supports on top of books and uniforms.

“At the same time, funding for non-government schools has increased at a greater rate than funding for public schools.

“ROGS data shows real recurrent funding (state and Commonwealth) in Victoria over the last 10 years grew by only 27 per cent for government schools while there was a 37 per cent increase for non-government schools.

“This is an untenable situation that the Andrews and Albanese governments can and must address.

“With full and fair funding, public schools can hire more teachers and education support staff to reduce workloads, provide greater individual attention, offer more support for students with additional needs, improve facilities and ensure every child has the opportunity to thrive to their full potential.

“Both the State and Federal Governments have a responsibility to put Victorian public schools on a pathway to full and fair funding.

“It is the best way to ensure every child has the opportunity to attend a properly resourced government school with modern facilities in their local community,” Ms Peace said.


The Report shows that Victoria is the lowest funded in the country for vocational education and training, on a per hour basis.  Each hour of funded training is $4.25 less than other states and territories meaning that Victoria’s TAFEs miss out on millions of dollars of much needed funds each year.

"The impact of this underinvestment is felt closely by students who do not have access to the resources and support they need in their respective TAFEs, and by businesses and industries that are struggling to get the skilled employees they need.

"The Andrews Government must fulfil their pre-election commitment of introducing legislation to guarantee 70 per cent of VET funding to TAFE, improve investment in building and upgrading TAFE infrastructure across the state, and work with the Federal Government to increase funding so that Victorian TAFEs have the resources to cover the full cost of course provision," Ms Peace said.