Federal budget 2017: Education

Education Minister Simon Birmingham believes "this budget will provide all children and students with opportunities to access quality early learning, schooling, higher education or vocational education and training."
May 10, 2017

The Federal budget 2017 has increased levels of school education funding. Investment in the education and child care sector will rise to $42.6 billion in 2017-18.
Skills & Training
The Turnbull Government aims to deliver a better balance for post-school education, encouraging students to consider alternative higher education options than university. 
They will establish a new ongoing $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund that plans to create up to an extra 300,000 apprentices over the next four years. The Fund will deliver the skilled workforce Australian employers need to fill skills gaps and enable their businesses to grow.

They will introduce the Industry Specialist Mentoring Program, which will provide extra support for around 47,000 apprentices. Apprentices and trainees working in industries undergoing structural changes, such as the South Australian and Victorian automotive sectors, will get access to highly skilled specialist mentors with industry expertise. 
"The ongoing Skilling Australians Fund will be a new approach, providing long-term certainty of funding and requiring states to match funding to support apprenticeships, rather than allowing them to cut it as they did under Labor’s National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform," Education Minister Simon Birmingham said in a media statement.

Higher Education
The higher education reforms aim to provide more access and support for under-represented groups, ensure students graduate with skills needed by the community, and hold higher education institutions accountable to ensure they deliver for their students and communities. 
By better balancing the share of funding and better matching the costs of courses with the money universities receive from the Government, the reforms expect to save taxpayers $2.8 billion over the forward estimates in underlying cash balance terms.

"We want to deliver a shared contribution to the costs of a degree to ensure the system is sustainable and Australians can continue to access one of the best higher education systems in the world on the basis of merit, not capacity to pay. Taxpayers will still, on average, fund 54 per cent of university course costs and also pay student loan amounts to universities to ensure no upfront fees. Students will begin paying back loans through the tax system at a newly established one per cent repayment rate," Birmingham said.
Government funding in schools will reach $242.3 billion from 2018 to 2027 with all schools receiving a consistent Commonwealth share by 2027.
The Government is conducting a Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian schools, to be led by David Gonski AC. The review will make recommendations on the most effective teaching and learning strategies to reverse declining results, and seek to raise the performance of schools and students across Australia. 
Following the introduction of the Early Learning Languages Australia app for preschoolers, there will be $5.9 million invested from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to trial a new English learning app, English Language Learning for Indigenous Children (ELLIC).The new play-based app aims to boost literacy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children for whom English is a second language. 

Early Childhood Education and Child Care
An additional $2.5 billion will be invested over the forward estimates in the early learning and child care system and families can expect increased subsidies targeted at people working the most and earning the least, as well as relief from the annual $7,500 rebate cap for low and middle income earners and downward pressure on incessant fee increases through our hourly rate cap. 
The National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education is to be extended into 2018. This will benefit around 346,000 children by providing 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before full-time school. 
Delivering outcomes for regional Australia
The Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education being led by Prof John Halsey will be delivered by December 2017. It will explore the factors that impact on student learning outcomes in regional, rural and remote locations and identify ways to help students succeed at school and in their transition to further study, training or employment.
There will be a $15.2 million investment from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to improve access to higher education for students from rural and remote Australia by supporting the establishment and operation of up to eight regional study hubs.
$24.0 million is to be provided over four years from 2017-18 for Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships.

Full details are available in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2017-18.

Enter your school’s details in the School Funding Estimator to find out what it means for your school.