Building a better and fairer education system for a future made in Australia

MINISTER JASON CLARE MP
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION

 
MINISTER DR ANNE ALY MP
MINISTER FOR EARLY EDUCATION
MINISTER FOR YOUTH

 
ASSISTANT MINISTER SENATOR ANTHONY CHISHOLM
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EDUCATION

BUILDING A BETTER AND FAIRER EDUCATION SYSTEM FOR A FUTURE MADE IN AUSTRALIA

The Albanese Labor Government is building a better and fairer education system from early education to school education and tertiary education.
 
As part of the Budget, the Albanese Government is responding to the Australian Universities Accord.
 
This includes cost of living relief for students, support for people from the outer suburbs and regions to go to university and structural reforms to our tertiary education system.
 
The Budget delivers the skills we need for a Future Made in Australia, where no one is held back, and no one is left behind.
 
Australian Universities Accord
 
Reform in tertiary education is needed to deliver the large, skilled and productive workforce the economy requires for a Future Made in Australia.
 
The Albanese Government has set an overall tertiary education attainment target of 80 per cent of working aged people by 2050.
 
As part of our response to the Australian Universities Accord, the Albanese Government is investing:

  • $239.7 million to make the HELP system fairer by improving the way HELP indexation is calculated. This will have the effect of wiping around $3 billion for more than 3 million Australians. The Government will effectively cap the HELP indexation rate to be the lower of either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Wage Price Index (WPI) and provide an indexation credit to people’s HELP accounts to ensure the new HELP indexation cap has effect from 1 June 2023. This will ensure that outstanding loans never grow faster than average wages and will fix the issue of last year’s high indexation rate and ensure it doesn’t happen again. An individual with an average HELP debt of $26,500 will receive a credit of around $1,200 to their outstanding HELP loans this year.
  • $427.4 million to deliver a Commonwealth Prac Payment to support teaching, nursing (including midwifery) and social work students complete their university placements. This will provide $319.50 per week to more than 73,000 eligible students who undertake mandatory prac as part of their degree. This will give Australians who have signed up to do some of the most important jobs in the country a bit of extra help to get the qualifications they need.
  • $350.3 million to deliver FEE-FREE Uni Ready courses to prepare students for university. This is expected to increase the number of students taking part in these courses by 40 per cent by 2030 and double the number of students by 2040. This will give more Australians the skills they need to get into the course they want.

In addition to these immediate cost of living and equity measures, the Albanese Government will also:

  • Introduce demand driven funding for equity students through its work to implement a new Managed Growth Funding System for Commonwealth Supported Places, fundamentally reshaping university funding for teaching and learning to support a future made in Australia.
  • Introduce needs-based funding as part of this change to provide tailored academic support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This will ensure universities are better able to support these students to succeed at university.
  • Establish the Australian Tertiary Education Commission (ATEC) as an independent steward for the tertiary system. ATEC will steward Australia’s tertiary education system, including implementation of reforms to university funding and improve integration of higher education and Vocational Education and Training (VET), and strengthening teaching standards.
  • Invest $27.7 million into immediate measures aimed at breaking down the barriers between VET and higher education to ensure a more seamless and aligned tertiary education system, including recognition of prior learning and streamlining regulation for dual sector providers.
  • Invest $24.6 million to fund Charles Darwin University to establish a Northern Territory medical school, subject to the completion of exploratory work.
  • Continue to progress scoping of a National Skills Passport, announced as part of the 2023 Employment White Paper and supported by the Accord.

In addition to this response to the Universities Accord, the Albanese Government will work with universities to establish additional, new supply of purpose-built student accommodation to benefit both international and domestic students.
 
These measures build on the Government’s higher education reform agenda, which includes the establishment of an independent National Student Ombudsman to investigate student complaints and resolve disputes with universities.
 
The Government will consult with students and the tertiary education sector to inform final design of the ATEC, along with managed growth and needs-based funding. The Government has also established an Implementation Advisory Committee which will help with detailed design and implementation of the Accord recommendations.
 
Building a better and fairer school education system
 
The Albanese Government is offering the biggest increase in federal funding to public schools that has ever been delivered. As part of this, the Albanese Government has signed Statements of Intent as a basis for negotiating additional funding for schools including:

  • $785.4 million over the next five years to Western Australia to fully fund all public schools in WA by 2026.
  • $736.7 million over the next five years to the Northern Territory to fully fund all public schools in the NT by 2029.

The Government is working with other jurisdictions on fully funding all public schools, as negotiations continue on the Better and Fairer Schools Agreement.

As part of the Government’s plans to help tackle the teacher shortage crisis and support students, in addition to the Commonwealth Prac Payment for teachers, the Budget also includes:

  • $34.6 million to make evidence-based curriculum and student wellbeing support and professional development materials available to all teachers and school leaders through a National Teacher Resource Hub.
  • $2.4 million to support a First Nations Teacher Strategy, as identified in the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, through collaboration with First Nations stakeholders to attract and retain more First Nations teachers.
  • $4.2 million to the Australian Government Contribution to the Australian Schools Anti-Bullying Collective to continue their critical work including the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence and anti-bullying programs in schools.

Next step to building a universal early childhood education and care system
 
The Albanese Government has committed to provide funding towards a wage increase for the early childhood education and care workforce. Details will be finalised following consideration of relevant Fair Work Commission processes.
 
The Government will invest $30 million over two years from 2024-25 in IT and payment services to deliver on this commitment.

The Government’s investment last year in Cheaper Child Care has seen out-of-pocket costs fall and benefited more than one million families.
 
The Albanese Government is continuing to build on this by investing:

  • An additional $84.1 million in resources to reinforce and safeguard the Child Care Subsidy system and protect against fraud and non-compliance.
  • A further $98.4 million for the Inclusion Support Program (ISP) to help child care services increase their capacity to support inclusion of children with additional needs.

The Government will consider the recommendations of the ACCC’s report into the costs of early childhood education and care alongside the Productivity Commission’s inquiry which is due by 30 June 2024.
 
The Government will also continue to implement initiatives included in its youth strategy, Engage! A strategy to include young people in the decisions we make.
 
Investing in First Nations Education Outcomes to Close the Gap
 
The Albanese Government is committed to implementing the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and is transforming the way it works with First Nations peoples and communities.
 
Strong partnerships and shared decision making are a key mechanism for embedding the priority reforms.

The Government will therefore invest $110 million to improve early childhood education and school education outcomes of First Nations children and students, and honour First Nations cultures and languages through education systems, and includes:

  • $12.5 million in partnership funding to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Corporation (NATSIEC) – the peak body for First Nations education, and $16.6 million to SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children – the peak body for First Nations children.
  • $32.8 million for the Clontarf Foundation to continue support for up to 12,500 First Nations boys and young men and their engagement in education in 2025.
  • $18.2 million to build new and improve existing boarding school facilities in Central Australia.
  • $20 million for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation to provide scholarships for students to access and complete secondary school or undertake tertiary study.
  • $5.5 million to expand the English Language Learning for Indigenous Children program from 20 trial schools to up to 100 schools nationally in remote and very remote locations.
  • $5.3 million to extend the Good to Great Schools Australia Pilot Program to enable more remote school students to benefit from explicit instruction support in literacy, numeracy and science.
  • $2 million for the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness Initiative which supports building the cultural responsiveness of teachers.

Social cohesion in Education

  • $4 million for Together for Humanity to expand their social cohesion programs into more schools. This will expand their reach into underrepresented jurisdictions and communities as well as increase activities aimed at addressing all forms of discrimination in schools, in particular antisemitism and Islamophobia.
  • $1 million to establish an inquiry into racism in the universities sector. The inquiry will examine the prevalence and impact of racism in universities and develop recommendations to ensure a culturally safe environment for students and staff.

The Budget is a key step in building a better and fairer education system for every Australian, where more people attend early education, finish school and go to TAFE or university.