The Turnbull Government has committed to record levels of education funding to help secure the better days ahead for Australians.
Investment in the education and child care sector will rise to $42.6 billion in 2017-18.
Our reforms to child care and early learning, schools and higher education will be complemented by the new Skilling Australians Fund that will ensure more Australians have more pathways to get the education they need to succeed.
Through ongoing investment and reform of early childhood education and child care, schools, the skills training sector and higher education, this Budget delivers on the Turnbull Government’s commitment to equip Australians to meet the challenges of today, tomorrow and for decades to come.
This Budget will provide all children and students with opportunities to access quality early learning, schooling, higher education or vocational education and training.
Skills & Training – Ensuring Australians have the skills they need to succeed
For too long, too many people have seen that the only option for a post-school education is university. While university is a critical element of our education system, a vocational and technical education should be as prized as a university degree. The Turnbull Government seeks to deliver a better balance for post-school education.
We will establish a new ongoing $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund that will create up to an extra 300,000 apprentices over the next four years. The Fund will deliver the skilled workforce Australian employers need to fill skills gaps and enable their businesses to grow. We will give Australians the best opportunity to fill Australian jobs, rather than relying on overseas qualified workers.
Our new $60 million Industry Specialist Mentoring Program will also provide extra support for around 47,000 apprentices. Apprentices and trainees working in industries undergoing structural changes, such as the South Australian and Victorian automotive sectors, will get access to highly skilled specialist mentors with industry expertise. That intensive mentoring, targeted at but not limited to apprentices from regional areas, retrenched workers, long-term unemployed and mature-age people, will increase completion rates and support the supply of skilled workers into the economy.
The ongoing Skilling Australians Fund will be a new approach, providing long-term certainty of funding and requiring states to match funding to support apprenticeships, rather than allowing them to cut it as they did under Labor’s National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform.
Higher Education – Opportunities for students and accountability for taxpayers
Education and training at all levels must focus on quality outcomes and the skills needed for a modern workforce.
Our higher education reforms will drive better outcomes for students and taxpayers. We will provide more access and support for under-represented groups, ensure students graduate with skills that meet the needs of employers and the community, and hold higher education institutions accountable to ensure they deliver for their students and communities.
Our reforms to funding for post-graduate, enabling and sub bachelor qualifications will ensure students have more choices than ever, allowing them to find the right provider and the right qualification to meet their higher education ambitions.
By better balancing the share of funding and better matching the costs of courses with the money universities receive from the Government, we expect our reforms will save taxpayers $2.8 billion over the forward estimates in underlying cash balance terms.
We want to deliver a shared contribution to the costs of a degree to ensure the system is sustainable and Australians can continue to access one of the best higher education systems in the world on the basis of merit, not capacity to pay. Taxpayers will still, on average, fund 54 per cent of university course costs and also pay student loan amounts to universities to ensure no upfront fees. Students will begin paying back loans through the tax system at a newly established one per cent repayment rate.
Schooling – Real, fair, needs-based funding for all students, invested to improve results
Our commitment to driving school reform will help ensure every child has access to quality education. It also represents a real commitment to true, needs-based funding, based on quality outcomes and community expectations.
From January 2018, funding for schools will be distributed fairly and based on the need of their students.
Students from similar schools with similar needs will no longer receive different amounts of Commonwealth funding because of special deals, historic arrangements or based on where they live – this is real needs-based funding based on Gonski principles, not the ‘con-ski’ Labor implemented.
Government funding in schools will reach a record $242.3 billion from 2018 to 2027 with all schools receiving a fair and consistent Commonwealth share by 2027.
This new, truly needs-based funding model will be tied to reforms that will make a difference to every child and teacher in every classroom. It means schools can impart the knowledge and skills our children need to succeed in a globalised economy and secure the jobs of the future.
The Government is also conducting a Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian schools, to be led by David Gonski AC. The review will make recommendations on the most effective teaching and learning strategies to reverse declining results, and seek to raise the performance of schools and students across Australia. The review complements initiatives already underway including the Turnbull Government’s $48 million support for The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program to help it reach an additional 24,000 children with targeted interventions and education opportunities.
Following the success of our Early Learning Languages Australia app for preschoolers, we will invest $5.9 million from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to trial a new English learning app, English Language Learning for Indigenous Children (ELLIC).The new play-based app will help boost literacy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children for whom English is a second language, further supporting our commitment to Closing the Gap in literacy achievement between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Indigenous children.
Early Childhood Education and Child Care – More affordable, accessible and fairer for families
The Turnbull Government is implementing the most significant reforms to early learning and child care in 40 years and our changes are set to benefit almost one million families.
We are investing an additional $2.5 billion over the forward estimates in the early learning and child care system and families can expect increased subsidies targeted at people working the most and earning the least, as well as relief from the annual $7,500 rebate cap for low and middle income earners and downward pressure on incessant fee increases through our hourly rate cap.
The reforms will better target those who want or need to work, or those who want to work more. It will give most families relief from out-of-pocket child care cost pressures and provide more children with the opportunity to benefit from early education.
In addition, we are extending the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education into 2018. This $428 million investment will benefit around 346,000 children by providing 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before full-time school and provide more certainty for the preschool sector.
Delivering outcomes for regional Australia
All Australians should have quality education and training opportunities, no matter where they live. The Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education being led by Professor John Halsey will be delivered by December 2017. It will explore the factors that impact on student learning outcomes in regional, rural and remote locations and identify innovative and evidence-based ways to help students succeed at school and in their transition to further study, training or employment.
The Turnbull Government will deliver $15.2 million from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to improve access to higher education for students from rural and remote Australia by supporting the establishment and operation of up to eight regional study hubs.
Access to STEM studies will also be made easier for over 1,200 regional and remote students, with $24.0 million to be provided over four years from 2017-18 for Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships.
Through reform and a focus on fairer, more equitable funding, this Budget makes the right choices to ensure all Australians are better equipped to take advantage of the better times ahead.