The Coalition Government is investing record levels in our schools with total Commonwealth funds reaching $73.6 billion over the next four years. This is an increase of 26%. School funding will continue to increase each and every year going forward.
As part of this, the Government is providing an additional $1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020 for schools, contingent upon reform efforts by the States and the non-government schools sector to improve education outcomes.
The Coalition Government is focused not just on more money but on making sure money is invested where it can make the most difference to student results.
Through our Students First approach, we are working with states and territories to focus on the four key areas that make a real difference to student results:
- Better teaching quality
- More school autonomy
- Engaging parents in education
- Strengthening the curriculum.
For example, our teaching quality reforms are introducing a new national literacy and numeracy test to ensure all new teachers are in the top 30% for literacy and numeracy in Australia.
Our National Innovation and Science Agenda is leading the way in promoting learning in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
The Coalition Government is supporting apprentices through Trade Support Loans – helping apprentices with the costs of living, tools and training through loans of up to $20,000 each. So far, over 40,000 loans have been taken up.
To help match the right apprentice to the right apprenticeship and lift completion rates, the Government has established the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network, supported by $200 million of annual funding.
This year the Government is supporting an estimated 68,000 employers with incentive payments to help businesses create opportunities for apprentices.
Fixing the VET FEE-HELP Scheme
To restore confidence in vocational education, the Coalition Government has taken over a dozen measures to crack down on dodgy providers, including strengthening the powers of the regulator and establishing a National Training Complaints Hotline for students.
Following consultation with the sector and the community, the Coalition will redesign the VET FEE-HELP scheme for 2017.
Support for Universities
Under the Coalition Government, funding for universities is at record levels, with funding of over $16 billion in 2016.
Support for students is also at a record level, with $6.8 billion invested in 2016 (a 65 per cent increase on 2009 levels). Australia has one of the most generous student loan schemes in the world, under which no domestic student has to pay up-front fees.
The National Innovation and Science Agenda will drive stronger university collaboration with industry through an additional $127 million in targeted research funding and new research impact measures. Simply put, we are connecting our academics with industry in order to build commercial capacity and create jobs in Australia.
More Investment in Early Childhood Education
The Government is investing more than $3 billion in a new Jobs for Families child care package to make child care simpler, more affordable and more accessible for almost one million Australian families.
Families with incomes between $65,000 and $170,000 will be around $30 a week better off.
The Coalition Government is also ensuring all Australian children can receive 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before school (and exempting these 600 hours a year from the child care activity test).
Investing in Vocational Education and Training
The Coalition Government invests around $7 billion in the VET sector each year through funding and student loans.
This includes $1.8 billion to the states and territories to support their training systems, including TAFE.