5 July 2023

The Federal Government’s new consultation paper for the Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System, released today, highlights the extent of the deep inequities in Australia’s education system.

AEU Deputy Federal President, Meredith Peace said the challenges arising from that inequity required urgent action and equitable funding to alleviate them.

“Australia has, on the basis of socio-economic status, one of the most segregated education systems in the world, and as the consultation paper highlights, it’s getting worse,” Ms Peace said.

“There are unacceptable gaps between students of different backgrounds, unsustainable workloads for principals, teachers and education support staff in public schools, and growing teacher shortages.

“While the consultation paper includes appropriate measures like early intervention for students who need additional support through tutoring programs, increased specialist staff to boost student wellbeing and additional support for teachers, further action is urgently required.

“Public school students need smaller class sizes, real improvements in one-on-one support, greater preparation time and lower administrative loads for teachers and real action on uncompetitive salaries and career structures to address the workforce shortage and unsustainable workloads for teachers, principals and education support staff.

“But the fundamental issue in our education system, the totally inequitable funding system, is not addressed by the paper. This is a massive oversight and if it remains unaddressed will mean yet another generation of public school students will miss out on full and fair funding for their education.

“It is no surprise that education faces such serious challenges and inequity when currently, 98 per cent of public schools are underfunded to the Schooling Resource Standard whilst 98 per cent of private schools are funded over the standard. This is the Federal Government’s own measure for what’s required to adequately educate a student – a measure they are failing to meet.

“If the Federal Government is serious about building a school system based on equity and excellence, as the consultation paper suggests, they must deliver full and fair funding for every public school student. Resources delayed are resources denied.

“This is the only way we will be able to address the challenges outlined by the consultation paper.”


Media contact: Alys Gagnon, 0438 379 977, alys.gagnon@essentialmedia.com.au