14 September 2010


The funding of sectarian schools in Australia has reached the high water mark of profiteering at the public’s expense – in spite of the fact that these institutions are classified as charities or not-for-profit organizations and are exempt from taxation.

According to The Sunday Age 12 September 2010, Victoria’s richest sectarian schools made profits of up to $14 million in 2009. Financial reports show that taxpayers contributed more than half of the gains made by these schools. Scotch College, which boasts facilities including a diving pool, 18 tennis courts and an observatory, had a profit of $14 million last year.It received $4.7 million in yearly government grants.

Melbourne Grammar made $8.2 million above its operating costs after receiving $4.5 million in grants, while Geelong Grammar made $10.6 million after receiving $6.3 million in grants. The schools also generated millions from donations and extra building grants.

The following table illustrates the point:




Recurrent Govt Grants(excludes capital grants and taxation exemptions etc.)

Scotch College



Geelong Grammar



Melbourne Grammar

$ 8.2 m


St. Michael’s Grammar

$ 4m


Carey Baptist Grammar

$ 3.3m


Haileybury College

$ 2.7 m



These figures were drawn from financial reports which had to be submitted to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. Other prominent schools including the Roman Catholic colleges like Xavier or Wesley College did not file reports. The government grants are but a fraction of the overall taxpayer support for these schools.

The Sunday Age reporter believes that the extent of taxpayers' contributions to the surpluses of schools such as Scotch College, Melbourne Grammar and Geelong Grammar is likely to intensify the debate about funding for private schools. DOGS note that this scandalous situation has existed since 1973 when the ALP) first introduced their ‘Needs’ policy. The Roman Catholic sectarian sector have constantly persuaded the incumbent governments and opposition to maintain at all costs – to the public of course- the unholyt Catholic/Protestant alliance.

A review of school funding will conclude next year, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard's election pledge guaranteeing the current funding levels for private schools until 2013 means changes could not occur before then. However, the Greens, on whose support Ms Gillard  now relies, want the funding formula overhauled. DOGS are interested to see whether pressure will come upon the Greens from the sectarian sector to overhaul their own educaqtion policy.

The princiapls of the sectarian sector are still trying to argue that their pupils would cost more to government if they were in the public system. If a proper costing and accountancy system is ever made available on the MySchool website – including the resources and income available to the sectarian schools from their investments and those of the churches to which they are attached – the Australian citizens and taxpayers might finally realise how ridiculously expensive the duplication, triplication and quadruplication of our public schools has become.

Public school principal David Adamson, of Essendon Keilor College, said the reports showed how much was possible if funding was redistributed.

''Transfer that federal money to us for one year and we could do so much. My floors are rotten, the window frames are rotten and the floor rocks and rolls as you walk down the corridor,'' he said.

The cries for an overhaul of the funding system are becoming more strident.

''The government is extending privilege to the already privileged,'' said Australian Education Union head Angelo Gavrielatos. ''It is indefensible.''

DOGS say that the only way around the inequitable funding of our dual system is to abandon it. Taxpayer funding of the private sectarian sector has always guaranteed   an expensive, privileged education for the few while leaving the majority to go begging. The only way to ensure the education of the nation’s children is through a high quality public education system available to all with offence to none. Our forefathers in the nineteenth century learnt this lesson. We should turn back to their example.






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