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ASPA Responds to 2024-25 Federal Budget: Education Highlights

Tuesday May 14 2024

The Australian Secondary Principals' Association (ASPA) today welcomed the Albanese Government’s commitment to education, highlighted by investments in First Nations education, the landmark Australian Universities Accord, and crucial support for early childhood education and care in the 2024-25 Budget.


ASPA is particularly encouraged by the allocation of $110 million over four years to accelerate action on closing the gap in First Nations education outcomes, with a focus on developing a new First Nations Education Policy and a First Nations Teacher Strategy. These initiatives, alongside the extension of programs like the Clontarf Foundation, signal a positive step towards ensuring equitable and culturally appropriate education.


“Investing in a dedicated First Nations Education Policy and Teacher Strategy demonstrates a genuine commitment to addressing the needs of First Nations students,” said ASPA President, Andy Mison. “We look forward to working collaboratively with the government and the First Nations peaks on the development and implementation of these crucial initiatives in our communities.”


ASPA also welcomes the government's recognition of the critical role played by early childhood educators, demonstrated by the $30 million investment over two years to support wage increases for the sector workforce. The additional $98.4 million allocated in 2024-25 to help childcare services better include children with additional needs is also highly commendable.


"Investing in our early childhood workforce and ensuring all children have access to high-quality early learning is a smart and impactful investment in Australia's future," Mr. Mison stated. "We need every Australian Child to get the best start for lifelong learning, and we need to value and properly remunerate our professional early childhood educators who we rely on to deliver that start."


ASPA also notes the continuation of a range of school education support programs, including $34.6 million over four years for curriculum support hubs like the Digital Technologies Hub and the Mathematics Hub, and $4.2 million over four years for the Australian Schools Anti-Bullying Collective. These programs provide resources and support for teachers, school leaders, and school communities.


“ASPA is supportive of measures that provide tangible benefits to those on the frontline of education,” Mr. Mison stated. “Initiatives that enhance teaching practice, address student wellbeing, and foster safe and inclusive school environments are always welcome.”


The Budget also allocates $12.7 million over three years to support the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in managing the collection, quality assurance, and reporting of school information. ASPA sees this investment as an opportunity to enhance consultation with the profession on the implementation of the National Assessment Program and to improve transparency and quality assurance of school information across all education sectors.


“We believe that greater collaboration with teachers and school leaders is essential to ensuring the usefulness of the growing suite of national assessments, and mitigating the workload impacts of administering them” Mr. Mison emphasised. “We also advocate for greater transparency and consistency in the collection and reporting of school data across all sectors, to provide a fairer, more comprehensive and accurate picture of Australian education.”


While these investments are valuable, the modest funding allocated to schools suggests a holding pattern while the Better Fairer Funding Agreement is negotiated between states and territories.


“We understand that this budget represents a transitional phase for school funding,” Mr. Mison noted. “ASPA has high hopes for a significant funding boost in next year’s budget, one that prioritises bringing all public schools to minimum Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) funding levels. This is essential to ensuring equity and quality education for all Australian students.”


ASPA also congratulates the Albanese Government on its landmark investment in the Australian Universities Accord reforms. The allocation of $1.1 billion over five years, with an additional $2.7 billion from 2028-29 to 2034-35, promises a transformative impact on Australia’s tertiary education system.


ASPA strongly supports the introduction of a $319.5 per week Commonwealth Prac Payment for teaching students undertaking mandatory placements, the expansion of the Fee-Free Uni Ready Courses program, and the measures to limit indexation of student loan debt. These initiatives will make a difference in attracting and retaining the next generation of highly skilled teachers, and can potentially help address teacher shortages.


“The commitment to harmonising regulation between the higher education and VET sectors, with an allocation of $27.7 million, is a welcome step towards creating a more cohesive and accessible tertiary education system,” added Mr. Mison. “This recognises the reality that we need to adapt so that our society and economy will benefit from a skilled and knowledgeable workforce moving seamlessly through university and VET programs.”


ASPA looks forward to continued collaboration with the government on these and other initiatives that advance the interests of secondary school leaders and the school communities they lead.

Media enquiries: Andy Mison 0400202088


About ASPA:

The Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA) is the national peak body representing government secondary school leaders in every Australian state and territory.

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