Funding for schools

The Australian Government provides funding for all schools, both government and non-government.

The Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act) is the principal legislation for the provision of this funding. The Australian Education Regulation 2013 (the Regulation) provides more detail to support the operation of the Act. The Act and Regulation were amended in 2014 on 26 November and 11 December respectively. The Post-amendment fact sheet under the Amendments tab in the Guide lists changes arising from these amendments.

The Guide to the Australian Education Act 2013 provides more information about the Act and Regulation.

Under constitutional arrangements, state and territory governments are responsible for ensuring the delivery and regulation of schooling to all children of school age in their jurisdictions. State and territory governments provide most of the school education funding in Australia, which is administered under their own legislation. They determine curriculums, register schools, regulate school activities and are directly responsible for the administration of government schools. They also provide support services used by both government and non-government schools. Non-government schools operate under conditions determined by state and territory government registration authorities. States and territories are also the major funder of schools, providing around 66 per cent of total public funding in 2014.

Government schools receive the majority of their public funding from their state or territory government, with the Australian Government providing supplementary funding.

Non-government schools receive the majority of their public funding from the Australian Government with state and territory governments providing supplementary funding.

In the 2017-18 Budget, the government committed further funding to Quality Schools through four sub programs.  This includes $16.299 million for payments to states and territories in Appropriation Bill (No. 2), 2017-18 Outcome 1, for Program 1.5 - Additional Support for NT schools ($1.629 million), for Program 1.6 - Short Term Emergency Assistance ($1.539 million), for Program 1.6 - Transition Assistance ($0.631 million) and for Program 1.6 - Non-Government Representative Bodies ($12.5 million). The distribution of the funding under program 1.5 - Additional Support for NT will be to the Northern Territory, distribution of the funding under programs 1.6 - Non-Government Representative Bodies are to the AIS and Catholic Education Commissions for them to distribute, whilst the distribution of Program 1.6 - Short Term Emergency Assistance and Program 1.6 - Transition Assistance will be determined following consideration of grant applications. At this time state splits, for all but Program 1.5 – Additional Support of NT, are yet to be determined and in some cases will not be available until the end of the 2017-18 financial year.

Terms and conditions are made under authority from the Australian Education Act 2013 and the Australian Education Regulation.