Richest schools pocket $4.8 billion while public system remains underfunded


With a new school funding agreement between the Commonwealth and the states and territories due to be negotiated in the new year, new analysis shows that Australia’s richest 100 private schools by parent fees and contributions banked $4.8 billion in 2021.

The total figure includes $776 million in funding from the Commonwealth and state governments – enough to fund the annual shortfall in the WA, SA, NT and Tasmanian public school systems.

Comments attributable to Greens spokesperson on Education (Primary & Secondary), Senator Penny Allman-Payne:

“It defies logic that when 98% of public schools are underfunded, rich private schools that are banking forty or fifty thousand dollars per student in fees and other contributions are still subsidised from the public purse.

“The quarter of a billion in annual funding these 100 super rich schools pocket from governments would be enough to close the combined annual public school funding gap in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

“That’s more than half-a-million kids being denied a fully funded education because governments are too afraid to stand up to private schools.

“Instead of simply closing the public school funding gap when it was elected, Labor postponed the new National School Reform Agreement by a year, initiating yet another review.

“We don’t need another review to tell us what the problem is: public schools are underfunded. It’s literally that simple. 

“Labor says any new funding will be ‘tied’ to targets. This sounds like weasel words to justify either not delivering 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard to all schools, or for attaching onerous conditions to desperately needed funding increases.

“Labor is in power federally and in every mainland state and territory. There is absolutely no excuse for them to not end decades of decline and deliver 100% minimum funding to every public school at the start of the next NSRA, in January 2025.”