School Funding Debate – Why are we still debating?

January 2023

The Federal Government, together with its State and Territory counterparts, refuse to fully support public schools, therefore perpetuating the financing disparity between the government and non-government education sectors. ACSSO cannot remain silent and let this continue. Our children need, no, deserve, a fully financed government school system that provides them with the finest educational experience possible, and we urge governments throughout Australia to make this happen right now.

The Gonski Report, commissioned by the Gillard Government and published in February 2012, clearly outlined financial disparities across and within school sectors. It found significant budget disparities for vulnerable and disadvantaged student cohorts in comparison to the general school population.

Inaction on the report's stated needs and financing model means that we haven't changed the educational experiences of these young Australians after more than 10 years. Which raises the question, why hold the enquiry and commission the study in the first place? Why would David Gonski and his colleagues bother determining the Student Resource Standard, as well as the additional loadings required to satisfy the greater financial needs of specific student cohorts, if the government never meant to follow the recommendations?

There has been much discussion about equitable school financing at the federal, state, and territory levels of government, yet no jurisdiction (other than the ACT) is paying its fair contribution to government schools. The non-government school sector, on the other hand, is overfunded at both levels on average, exacerbating disparity. Especially when we consider that our government schools teach the great majority of pupils with special needs.

Just before Christmas, SOS (Save Our Schools) Australia released a study on their website and other media channels showing the ongoing budget disparities. The complete study can be seen at

"Public schools throughout Australia are now supported on average at 87.1 percent of their Schooling Resource Standard," according to the study (SRS). They will still be supported at less than 91 percent of their SRS by 2029 under the present NSRA (National School Reform Agreement)." "By comparison, private schools are being supported at 104.3 percent of their SRS. Under the existing arrangements, they will be over-funded for the remainder of the decade."

We were led astray by the suggested finance arrangement. It is arguably worse for a government to state, "We see the disparity in the present financial arrangement, and we recognise what has to happen to solve this injustice," but then fail to enact the necessary adjustments. False hope, indeed.

Sharron Healy
January 2023





PO BOX 8221,
Werrington County,
NSW, Australia, 2747


0497 042 026 (Monday, Tuesday & Thursday)
0418 470 604 (Monday through to Friday)