Release type: Joint Media Release


Australian Education Bill passes the Parliament


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister
Senator the Hon Jacinta Collins
Minister for School Education
Minister for Early Childhood and Youth

A fair funding system, school improvement reforms and extra funding for Australian schools are now enshrined in law following the passage of the Australian Education Bill through the Senate today.

This is a great day for Australian schools, students and families. For the first time, we have a needs-based funding model for schools across all sectors, one that will ensure our classrooms are properly resourced for generations to come.

The new National Plan for School Improvement applies to all government schools in participating states, and non-government schools in all states. It delivers:

  • A school funding model based on individual student need, with a per student amount and extra money for schools and students that need more support;
  • Extra resources over the next six years to bring schools up to their Schooling Resource Standard, plus better rates of indexation; and
  • School improvement reforms that will help every Australian student get a great education, and help take Australian schools to the top five in the world by 2025.

For states and territories that have signed up to the National Plan for School Improvement, today’s Senate vote guarantees extra funding and higher indexation from the Commonwealth over the next six years.

New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT have already signed up to our plan. Every school and every sector in these jurisdictions will benefit from extra funding, delivered under a needs-based system, as well as higher rates of indexation.

Nationally, all non-government schools will be funded under the new, fairer funding system outlined in the Bill.

As a result over 60% of students in almost 60% schools across the country will now benefit from their share of the $15 billion on offer to all states and territories if they sign up to a fairer school funding model and school improvement reforms.

National Plan for School Improvement

All participating schools will benefit from school reforms aimed at lifting student results and providing a high-quality, high-equity education for all Australians.

School sectors taking part in the National Plan have committed to implementing these reforms in five key areas: quality teaching, quality learning, greater autonomy, more transparency, and meeting student need.

For schools and students, this means:

  • Higher entry standards for the teaching profession
  • More training and support for teachers
  • More individual support for students
  • School improvement plans for every school
  • More information for parents and the community about school funding and performance

Non-participating states

All states and territories will be asked to sign up to implementing education reforms in the five main areas, and to commit to our goal of being in the top five schooling countries by 2025.

The Australian Education Bill also sets out Commonwealth funding arrangements for non-participating states and territories. The Commonwealth will provide current levels of school funding to state and territory governments, indexed to meet rising costs.

We have been clear, however, there will be no windfall gain for non-participating states and territories.

Government school sectors in non-participating states will also miss out on the extra funding we have put on the table. Non-government schools in these states will receive their share of extra Commonwealth funding, but will miss out on guaranteed extra funding from their state or territory government.

This makes it even more urgent that all jurisdictions sign up to our plan by June 30.

We don’t want to see schools and students in these states missing out because of a decision by their state or territory government not to commit to extra funding.

Next steps

We will continue to negotiate with remaining states and territories ahead of the June 30 deadline, because we want to secure the best deal possible for every Australian school and student.

Detailed implementation plans are being developed with participating sectors which set out how the new funding model will work, how the extra funding will be phased in, and how school improvement reforms will be implemented on the ground.

These will be released when finalised and will provide further details of funding available to schools from next year.

The National Plan for School Improvement, including the new, fairer funding approach, will be in place in our classrooms from January 1, 2014.

From next year, there will be more money, higher standards, and better results for Australian students.