AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 399
FEDERAL BUDGET STATISTICS
AND THE PRIVATISATION REVOLUTION
29 September 2010
Statistics and damn Statistics are said to lie, yet, when one wishes to cut through the political rhetoric to basic realities, there is nothing like Budget Statistics to bring those promoting public education down with a thud.
The election is over, but the country kept operating because the wheels of government finance kept churning out the taxpayer dollars. And they are certainly churning them out in favour of private, sectarian schools. So powerful is the religious pressure groupies in Australian politics that private dependent schools now receive more of the education budget cake than even Higher Education. Meanwhile, in spite of the rhetoric about ‘skilling ’a ‘clever ’nation, the vocational sector comes in at only 6-7% of the budget in the years 2009-2014. When the fact that even some of the ‘vocational’ education moneys will also be allocated to private religious institutions, allocations of public money to the public sector fades even further.
The following are some of the facts gleaned from the Federal Budget papers for 2010-2011.
The budget contains little where schools are concerned. The Only new schools measures in the Budget are
i. The extension of the Schools Chaplaincy Program until the end of 2011. This provides $50.6 million over three years to extend the program until December 2011. There will be a consultation process to examine options for future support and
ii. A one year extension of a trial to increase enrolments and attendance in existing locations in the Northern Territory and Queensland until June 30, 2011. ‘$3/4 million has been allocated to extend this trial for one year.
iii. The Government’s new Skills for Sustainable Growth Strategy is a $661.2 million package over 4 years, but there is no specific commitment in this strategy to the TAFE system.
But it is the figures in the total education expenditure that the government’s proposals for the next few years sound a loud warning to supporters of public education.
Consider the following:
Of the total education expenses for 2010-11 of $32.996 million, private schools receive $8,779 million, public schools receive $7,610 million and higher education receives $8,124 million.
This means that sectionalist, sectarian education receives more than all the higher education institutions in Australia; and, from the allocation to schools they are currently receiving 54% while public schools are receiving 46%. Meanwhile vocational education and other education receives only 6% of the total education budget, namely $2,050 million.
If this is not bad enough for current funding of public education, projected funding figures are even more disastrous. By 2013-14 federal government funding of schools is estimated to be almost double that of public schools. In dollar terms it is estimated to be $8,892 million for private sectarian schools and $4,510 for public schools. Private education will in that year be receiving 66% of the federal funding cake while public schools will come a poor second with 34%.
These figures are potentially revolutionary. The problem is, they represent a sectarian, privatization revolution in a country that once prided itself on giving its children a fair go.
For further information on the 2010-11 federal budget papers see:
DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION AND STOP STATE AID TO PRIVATE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS.
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