The annual Australian Productivity Commission Report into Government Services (ROGS) shows that Victorian government school students are still the lowest funded students in Australia.
The most recent figures for 2017-2018 show that Victorian government school students are receiving $1449 less than the national average per student from state and commonwealth sources; a gap that widened slightly from the previous year.
AEU Victoria branch president Meredith Peace said that Victorian teachers, parents and students in the public system should once again feel let down by governments who are not doing enough to narrow the funding gap.
“The Commonwealth Government continues to treat Victorian government school students as second-class citizens when it comes to education funding,” said Ms Peace.
“The inequity between government and non-government schools is increasing, with funding for Australian non-government students growing by 35 per cent since 2008-09 while funding for Australian government students has grown by just 12 per cent.
“This simply means that students in Victorian government schools are missing out when it comes to additional support or breadth of curriculum programs.”
Due to agreements under the Commonwealth’s Australian Education Amendment Bill, non-government schools in Victoria will reach 100 per cent of their schooling resource standard (SRS) by 2023 while Victorian government schools will be funded at less than 95 per cent of the SRS by 2028 and may never reach 100 per cent.
“The difference between public and private funding over the last decade is alarming, but unfortunately this trend is continuing under the Morrison Government which has constantly put private schools first.”
The report also showed that Victoria is $1268 below the national average when it comes to funding for government school students received solely from the state government. Investment in recent years by the Andrews government has seen this gap narrow again, but at a slower rate than in the previous four years.
The AEU condemned the Andrews government’s 2014 amendment to the Education and Training Reform Act which delivers Catholic and independent schools at least 25 per cent of per-student funding that goes to government schools, regardless of whether those non-government schools need the money.
“These latest figures from the Productivity Commission show that non-government schools are already receiving more than their fair share and have been for a long time. The Victorian Government’s provision of additional money to the non-government sector is wrong and that decision should be reversed.”
Victorian recurrent state funding for non-government students grew by 11 per cent over the 10-year period while funding for government students increased by only 9 per cent.
“Today’s figures demonstrate clearly that funding for non-government schools is increasing at a faster rate than for government schools.
“Both the federal and state governments need to ensure that students and schools receive the funding needed to provide a high-quality education for all students. Victorian government school students should not be left languishing at the bottom of the funding tables.”