Wednesday, 4 March 2020
Australian Education Amendment (Direct Measure of Income) Bill 2020; Second Reading
In the remaining time available to me I want to outline that the new method of calculating funding for non-government schools, the direct measure of income, is a very positive move. However, as with any change, there will be differential impacts on schools under the new method. Indeed, of the 13 independent schools in my electorate, seven will move to a higher level of funding, two will stay the same and four will move to a lower level of funding.
I've already been in contact with the schools which are going to have a lower level of funding, and I, like the minister and this government, do appreciate the concerns that they have expressed. To assist them with the transition, the government has put in place a lengthy transition period, over 10 years; $1.2 billion in the new Choice and Affordability Fund to help those schools; and a robust review process, which is currently being developed, which will enable independent schools that believe they need to have their new funding relooked at to go through this process. The things that they might request to be considered would include sudden changes to local economic circumstances; recent significant changes in student enrolment numbers; unique circumstances of the school community, such as where the parents or guardians have a greater number of dependents; and other exceptional circumstances.
By way of finishing, I would note that the purpose of this bill is to implement the recommendation of the National School Resourcing Board. It will establish a new and more targeted and accurate way to calculate the capacity of families to contribute to the cost of sending their kids to a non-government school. It is a needs based model which is designed to get the best results for students, parents and teachers. The more targeted and direct measure of income will make school funding more equitable by ensuring that funding flows to the schools that need it most. Under this model, by 2029, students with the same need in the same sector will attract the same level of support.