Morrison Govt abandons public schools in private school capital-funding cash splash

The extent to which public schools in Australia are being ignored by the Morrison Government when it comes to capital funding for new facilities and renovations has been highlighted again today.

This year alone the Commonwealth Capital Grants Program has allocated more than $146 million to fewer than 140 non-government schools. By contrast, public schools will not receive a single dollar of equivalent Commonwealth funding[1].

Between 2013 and 2017, Australia’s four richest elite private schools spent more on new facilities and renovations than 1800 schools combined.

In 2017, only 38 per cent of total spending on school infrastructure was in public schools – far below the sector’s 66 per cent share of enrolments.

The richest 1% of schools spent $3 billion, while 50% of schools spent $2.6 billion combined. That 50% of schools teaches nearly five times as many students.

Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that public school capital funding requirements have been completely disregarded by the Morrison Government’s private school capital funding cash splash.

Ms Haythorpe said the figures raised serious questions about how private schools are using recurrent funding provided by the Commonwealth.

“In private schools around the country the amount they allocate to capital projects is similar to the amount provided by the Commonwealth for recurrent funding,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“However the rules are clear – recurrent funding cannot be used for capital works projects. This raises serious questions about how some private schools are actually using their recurrent funding.”

While the Morrison Government will provide $1.9 billion in capital works funding for private schools over ten years, public schools will not receive a single dollar of equivalent Commonwealth funding.

Ms Haythorpe said the Federal Coalition increased the private school capital fund by $300 million in 2017 while at the same time putting an end to capital funding for public schools.

“Not only has Scott Morrison cut $14 billion from public schools he was also the Treasurer who stopped capital funding for public schools altogether,” Ms Haythorpe said.

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