What is the 'Budget'?
The Budget is a statement that the Government releases every year which highlights how they plan to collect and spend money over the next 12 months. It’s detailed, it’s long, and it covers just about every single thing you can possibly think of. But today we’re not going to focus on everything in the budget; we’re here to focus entirely on students and education, so you know what measures the Federal Government has funded to support primary and secondary school students across Australia.
A little note - education funding is typically shared between the Commonwealth (the Federal Government) and each of the State and Territory governments. State governments are ultimately responsible for owning, running, and maintaining schools but, the Federal Government does provide significant financial support for schools around the country.
Alright, let's get into it.
After the lengthy disruptions students experienced to their education over the past few years due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Government has committed $265.8 million as part of the Schools Upgrade Fund. This aims to support projects that will see the development of new classrooms and school buildings, refurbishing existing classrooms and improving ventilation and air quality. The funding will also be used to upgrade computing equipment and school facilities, as well as targeted grants for schools identified with priority needs.
Teacher Workforce Action Plan
The Government has also announced $35 million over 4 years from 2022–23 to attract and retain more teachers in the workforce. This funding is part of a bigger plan known as the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, which was agreed to by the Commonwealth (Federal), State and Territory Education Ministers in December 2022.
With this investment, the Government is hoping to entice more people to the teaching profession, ensuring students can be certain that when they attend school each day, they will be greeted by well-trained and fully supported teachers in their classrooms.
First Nations Education Programs
The Government will continue to provide funding for initiatives that support better educational outcomes for First Nations peoples, a key priority under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. This funding includes $32.8 million over two years from 2023–24 for the Clontarf Foundation to extend its existing program for another year to support school engagement for First Nations young men.
Consent Education & Respectful Relationships
As students have identified time and time again, relevant, informative, age-appropriate consent and respectful relationships education is crucial to support the wellbeing of all students.
Last night’s announcement of $20.4 million per year from 2023-24 to 2025-26, and $8.3 million in 2026-27 to support consent or respectful relationships education programs or training in schools aligns with recommendations made by Victorian students in 2022 for better consent education in schools, further outlined in VicSRC’s annual advocacy platform.
The Australian Government will continue its investment of $61.4 million per year for the next 4 years for the National Student Wellbeing Program which supports the wellbeing of students through in-school services and initiatives.
In recognition of the impacts COVID-19 had on students across Australia, the Government has allocated funding to schools to support students’ mental health and wellbeing, providing an additional $192 million ($45.6 million to Victoria) for the 2022/23 financial year.
As part of a package to provide ongoing mental health support, the Government has committed $6.9 million over two years from 2023–24 to continue child and youth mental health supports, including supporting digital work and study, and student mentoring.
There’s been a large push to support and reinvigorate Australia’s arts, entertainment and cultural sector under the National Cultural Policy – Revive. Alongside funding announcements for film, interactive media and fine arts initiatives, the Government has allocated $2.6 million over 4 years from 2023-24 to support specialist arts education programs in schools.
National Careers Institute
The Government will provide additional funding of $5.1 million in 2023–24 to the National Careers Institute (NCI). This investment includes continued delivery of the School Leavers Information Kit to enable young people to make informed decisions about their education, employment, and training pathways post-high school.
The Victorian State Budget will be released on Tuesday, May 23. We'll be bringing you more information about what comes out of the Education State's budget then.