The Turnbull Government has outlined a clear plan, from the high chair to higher education, to ensure every student can choose the best education path to help them reach their potential.
Australia’s education system needs to be better than it is today. Students, employers, families and the Government all recognise the challenges we face and a stronger economy enables us to invest more in education and child care.
That’s why this Budget outlines investment worth $43.7 billion in 2018-19 to support the Coalition’s reform plans for Australia’s education system.
Early childhood – More support for more families and children
The Government’s overhaul of the child care and early learning subsidies includes an extra $2.5 billion to ensure more families get more support. The reforms are set to benefit nearly one million families by retargeting subsidies towards families earning the least and families working the most, introducing hourly rate caps to put downward pressure on fee increases, and abolishing the annual rebate cap for most families.
Our commitment to the value of early childhood education and care is why we’re delivering $440.1 million to extend access for preschoolers to 15 hours of early learning each week in the year before school to the end of 2019.
The Government is committing an additional $14.0 million to support the ongoing work of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) through to 30 June 2020 in overseeing the National Quality Framework. This guarantees ongoing Commonwealth leadership following the completion of the partnership agreement with states and territories.
Schooling – Supporting students to meet the challenges of today, tomorrow and the future
Every student deserves support that suits his or her needs. That’s why this Budget confirms the Coalition’s new schools funding plan that started this year will boost our investment in schools by $1.0 billion every year for the next decade.
The Coalition has accepted the recommendations of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools in principle. The blueprint that’s been laid out by David Gonski AC and a panel of experts will help shape a new agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories to ensure schools, teachers and families are armed with the opportunities they need to deliver better outcomes for Australian students.
In June, the Government is also due to receive the independent report of the review into the socio-economic status score methodology from the National School Resourcing Board, which will cover the operation of the capacity to contribute settings in non-government school funding arrangements. We will respond to the review this year.
The Coalition has also committed $247.0 million over four years to continue the valuable work of the National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP), providing continued support for approximately 3000 schools to employ a chaplain.
Under the renewed program, school chaplains will also be required to upgrade their skills by undertaking cyber-bullying training provided by the eSafety Commissioner and continue to support community involvement in the school.
Following the success of programs like Teach for Australia to accelerate high-achievers from other fields into the education system, the Coalition will take steps to support the growth of alternative pathways into the teaching profession and support areas of workforce shortage. The High Achieving Teachers program will help attract up to 200 highly skilled people into the teaching profession from a range of fields and support the education needs of students in areas where there may be shortages of educators.
Education opportunities for the bush
The Coalition understands that students who grow up in regional or remote communities should have the same access to quality education and training opportunities as students who live in cities.
Emeritus Professor Dr John Halsey’s Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education focused on how to ensure every student, no matter where they live, has the opportunity to succeed.
The Coalition Government will make Youth Allowance more accessible for regional and remote students, through increasing the parental income means tested cap for independent students.
We are increasing opportunities for students in regional and remote areas to enjoy the benefits of higher education by investing $28.2 million to create around 500 additional commencing Commonwealth Supported Places from 2019 in sub-bachelor and enabling programs. These additional places will be allocated through a competitive process to universities in regional areas. In addition, the Government will commit a further $14.0 million to support an extra 185 commencing Commonwealth supported bachelor places annually for bachelor-level courses for use through Regional Study Hubs (growing to approximately 500 additional places annually by 2022).
More apprenticeships for Australians
The Government is committed to growing the number of apprenticeships in Australia. An estimated $1.5 billion will be committed through the Skilling Australians Fund to achieve this goal, with funding extended through to 30 June 2022. A level of funding for states and territories will be guaranteed, while extending the program from four to five years provides a longer timeframe to deliver more apprenticeship and other employment-focussed training.
The national partnership with the states will now commence on 1 July 2018 and provide an estimated $1.2 billion to support states and territories to deliver projects that will arrest the decline in apprenticeships. The Government is also making available around $300 million in 2017-18 to support states and territories to participate and those already helping to increase the supply of apprenticeships.
Boosting innovation with science and research infrastructure
The 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, developed by a group of eminent experts led by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO, outlines the key priorities for national research infrastructure over the next decade. Recognising its importance, the Government is investing an additional $1.9 billion over 12 years in this Budget, as well as $70 million in the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, to enhance our national research infrastructure system. This builds on the Government’s previous commitments of $70 million for National Computational Infrastructure and $119 million for the European Southern Observatory since the release of the Roadmap in May 2017.
The Roadmap outlines research infrastructure priorities to support Australia’s research needs now and into the future across areas as broad as quantum computing, health and marine science. Examples include supporting the work of the Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons and genomics and precision medicine which play an increasing role in improving the health of Australians, as well as the Australian Wine Research Institute – Bioplatforms Australia supporting our wine export industry.
The Government will better target the delivery of our Endeavour programs to ensure overseas education, training and research opportunities for our highest-performing students, researchers and professionals are sustainable into the future and aligned with our strategic priorities. The new Endeavour Leadership Program will complement the Government’s New Colombo Plan and its focus on the Indo-Pacific, while at the same time enhancing research collaboration with our key global education partners.
In this Budget, the Government is making record levels of investment in essential education services through a stronger economy and budget, backed by evidence on what works, so that all students, young and old, in cities and in small towns, have the opportunity to learn the skills they need now and in the future.