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Coalition’s $10bn in sweeteners for private schools while public schools remain underfunded.
The Coalition Government has shelled out more than $10 billion in special deals to private schools during its time in office while 99 per cent of public schools have gone underfunded, a new report has revealed.
Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said the new research by education economist Adam Rorris documents 13 key decisions made by the Coalition since 2015 – when Scott Morrison was Treasurer and then Prime Minister – that have boosted the wealthy private system.
“This report is resounding proof that the Coalition Government has established and further contributed to a great divide in education equity in this country,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
“It details a long record of special deals, discretionary funds with minimal accountability, even flaws in the design of JobKeeper that have allowed private schools to keep the wage subsidies as profits.
“The report lays out this record of neglect plainly for all to see and, appallingly, to the detriment of the overwhelming majority of students in this nation who attend public schools.”
The funding decisions in favour of private schools made by the Coalition Government since 2015 include:
- $750 million in JobKeeper payments to private schools, where at least half was kept as profit
- $796.5 million cut from public schools over the next four years in the 2022-23 Budget
- $1.9 billion made available to private schools for building improvements, while excluding public schools from any capital works funding despite their much greater need
- Drought and flood relief and COVID-19 support measures for private schools that were not extended to public schools.
Report author Adam Rorris said: “These decisions have come at a time when public schools across Australia are under-funded by approximately $6.5 billion each year.
“Instead of fixing this shortfall, what we’ve seen is announcement after announcement that add up to more than $10 billion in extra funding for private schools above the 2017 baseline.
“Concerningly, much of this funding has been delivered through no-strings-attached special deals and discretionary funds with minimal accountability.”
Mr Gavrielatos said the Morrison Government repeatedly speaks about record levels of funding, but it is funding for schools that need it the least; overfunded private schools.
“This report shows the record level of funding they provide is the billions of dollars in special deals and slush funds for private schools,” he said.
“The report sets out a timeline of Coalition decisions that clearly shows the ‘record funding’ has been given to private schools at the expense of Australia’s 2.62 million public school students, their families and teachers.
“The glimmer of hope we had in 2013, with the introduction of the Gonski school funding reforms has been progressively extinguished by the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments.
“Under this Government’s arrangements with the states and territories, public schools are funded at only 87 per cent of what Gonski found necessary for kids to achieve.
“By contrast, private schools will continue to be funded above and beyond their required levels and continue to receive billions extra in special deals to fund dance theatres, cafes, and wellness centres.
“The Morrison Government’s recent Budget slashed funding for public schools by $559 million over the next three years, yet it increased funding for private schools by $2.6 billion over the forward estimates.
“Public education, our children, cannot afford another three years of neglect by the Morrison Government.
“The Morrison Government does not deserve your vote.”
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