<%@ Master language="C#" %> FOUR $10 MILLION DOLLAR CHURCH SCHOOLS




21 AUGUST 2008








A reading of the 281 page Federal School Funding Report for Schools for 2006 reveals massive amounts of Federal funding given to Church Schools. Please note that figures for 2007 and 2008 are not available.

Church schools in Australia in 2006 benefited from 12 other programs other than their recurrent  per capita funding. From all these programs they received $5.186 billion.

Massive Blowout

Federal Funding to States for capital funding for school education started with science grants to church schools in the six States. The amount going to Church schools in 1964/65 amounted to $2.7 million.  In 1969/70 Federal recurrent grants to church schools commenced and amounted to $12.2 million. Total federal grants to church schools in 1969/70 in the six states amounted to $20.5 million.

In less than forty years Federal recurrent funding to church schools has increased from $12.2 million in 1969/70 to $4.81 billion in 2006. That is, 395 times. Total federal funding of $20.5 million in 1969/70 has increased to $5.186 billion , namely 253 times.

Seventeen  Church Schools Receiving More than $8 Million Dollar  ( Federal Recurrent Funding only)  2006

At the beginning of the largesse heaped by Australian governments on Church schools DOGS declared that, if it wasn''t stopped what started as a trickle would become a roaring flood. Events have proved DOGS correct. For instance, in 2006, there are :

  • Four $10 million dollar recurrent funded Church Schools

  • Four $9 million dollar recurrent funded Church Schools

  • Nine $8 million dollars recurrent funded Church schools.

in other words there are seventeen church schools receiving over $8 million dollars each in Federal recurrent funding alone in 2006.

Four Church Schools Receiving More than $10 million ( Federal Recurrent Funding Only ) 2006

  • All Saints  College (R.C.) Maitland New South Wales : $10,457,623

  • St. Monica's College (R.C.) Epping Victoria : $10,326,342

  • Beaconhills Christian College (Anglican/Uniting) Pakenham, Victoria: $10,179,152

  • Padua College (R.C.) Mornington Victoria: $10,096,318

It is sobering to note that four church schools each received in 2006 just a few million dollars short of what all the 2,144 church schools in the six states received in 1969/1970.

Enormity of Largesse to Church Schools Not Easily Ascertainable

Direct Funding from the Federal Government:

To obtain the total that any school may have received in 2006 from the federal government a researcher would have to check through a report of 281 pages containing thirteen different programs and find out the details of the possible funding received by any individual church school involved in any of these thirteen programs. There is nowhere in the report where a person can find the total federal funding of any particular church school.

There is no summary of the federal funding provided to any particular church school.

Accountability a Disaster under Whitlam

Under the Liberal Government between 1969 and 1972 and until the Schools Commission took control of federal reporting of church school funding, it was possible to discover funding amounts and actual enrolment figures on the same line and on the same page.

The  Labor Government came to power in December 1972  and placed reporting of federal funding in the hands of the Schools Commission. The key link between funding amounts and enrolment figures disappeared. This body swiftly prevented citizens from working out what each particular school received per pupil in federal funds. After the Schools Commission took control, the enrolment figures disappeared from the official reports.

The lack of  enrolment information together with the block funding provided to the church school bureaucracies led to the covering up of the bottom of the churchyard schemes which  the DOGS exposed in the 1970s and 1980s. The Needs policy became a Greeds policy and a tool of the  Church bureaucracies in the expansion of their systems on the basis of 'NEEDS'. For example, the lack of enrolment information allowed the federal bureaucrats to cover up the fact that the Roman Catholic church was moving funds given for "needy" show piece poor parish schools into the secondary sector.

Some of this information is contained in many paid advertisements inserted by DOGS in the Age.

The entrenched manipulation of the Needs policy was merely continued under the Socio Economic Status (SES) formula under the Howard Government.

Total State Aid Funding

The $5.186 billion of total federal funding in 2006 is a gross understatement of the full subsidisation of church schools from the public treasury. This figure does not include the direct funding to church schools from the States and Territories. Nor does it include the indirect funding through taxation expenditures: tax exemptions such as

local: council and water rates;

State: payroll tax; land tax; stamp duty; travel allowances;

Federal: income tax; fringe benefits tax; GST; building fund and other donations etc. etc.

Conclusion: State Aid to Church Schools is a Cancer in the Body Politic

From at least 1973 there has been no proper assessment of the total State Aid made available to Church Schools. There has been no reporting by the relevant authorities enabling citizens to easily assess the proper expenditure of State Aid to individual schools. The full list of statistics has never been publicly available in an official report. There is no way that the citizen can work out exactly what is going on at the local school, church bureaucracy and government administration level. Accountability to the government administration and the government itself  has long been a joke.

 The government appears to accept this. Yet the relationship between chu8rch and state it appears to the citizen/taxpayer akin to Caesar's wife accounting to Caesar.

The accountability failure is no accident. It was understood by key persons within both the federal and church bureaucracies that the State Aid applecart could have been upset if the real situation had been exposed to public view. DOGS tried, but the only way they could reveal anything was through paid advertisements and the exposure in the High Court case.

It is has taken many letters and a scandal at the Lakeside Christian School to even get the Australian National Audit Office ( ANAO) to consider an audit of non-government school funding. Even so, the citizen need not hold their breath if they wish to contribute to this activity.

As early as 1964 DOGS sounded the warning. But State Aid is like a fire. A few drops of water could have put out the fire in 1964. The effect on our democratic system over the last forty years of the roaring fires of State Aid is a major tragedy. So many  of our democratic structures have been undermined.  Drastic measures are required, if Australia is going to retain a liberal democracy. 

However, it should be noted that the billions of dollars propping up the expensive, divisive church systems which duplicate State provision are from the Public Treasury. When will some rationality return to education funding in Australia? When will public funds be diverted back into a high quality public system which is open to all and publicly accountable to our democratic representatives?:




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Last modified:Sunday, 24 August 2008