9 December 2023

The Australian Education Union strongly supports a push by State and Territory governments to get the Albanese Government to substantially increase its investment in public schools saying the future of children across the nation is at stake.

A new report today says the Albanese Government is only offering to lift its share of funding for public schools from 20 to 22.5%, while state governments, including Victoria and QLD, are seeking 25%.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the need for the additional investment was urgent to fund smaller class sizes, additional support for students with complex needs and small group tutoring for those at risk of falling behind.

“We need a better and fairer education system where every child can get the individual attention and support they need to succeed,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Right now, the achievement gaps between children of different backgrounds and locations are too great and we have a growing teacher shortage crisis. Fixing this starts with funding.

“Only 1.3% of public schools are funded to the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) which is the minimum level governments agreed over a decade ago was required to meet the needs of their students.

“The Prime Minister promised to work with State and Territory governments to deliver full funding for public schools and this must be an urgent priority for National Cabinet.

“The Commonwealth has underfunded public schools for decades while overfunding private schools. Only 1.6% of the federal budget is spent on public schools.

“The reported offer from the Albanese Government of $2.3 billion for public schools is less than the $3.2 billion it will spend overfunding 40% of private schools, including some of the richest in the nation.

“The challenges are too great and the costs too high for governments to continue to fail on funding. The Albanese Government must contribute a minimum of 25% of the SRS for all states and lift that to 40% for the NT where student disadvantage is greatest.

“All public schools must be fully funded by 2028 at the latest.

“Funding public schools at 100% of the SRS is the only way to ensure every child gets every opportunity to succeed and we have the teachers we need for the future.

Ms Haythorpe said during negotiations over new bilateral agreements next year the Albanese Government must stop State and Territory governments using accounting tricks to artificially inflate the share of funding they were contributing to schools.

“These accounting tricks artificially inflate funding for public schools in every state and territory, except the ACT, by 4% and that creates a $2 billion gap between what the governments claim they are spending and what they are actually spending,” she said.

“New bilateral agreements next year must deliver full not fake funding for public schools.”


Melissa van der Haak, 0484 674 958