Education - Introduction

Budget Review 2009-10 Index

Budget 2009 10: Education


Marilyn Harrington

For school education and vocational education and training (VET), the Budget mostly reflects the new federal financial relations framework previously set in place through the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations. Also, for school education, additional infrastructure funding was provided by the Building the Education Revolution (BER) initiatives appropriated under the Appropriation (Nation Building and Jobs) Act (No 2) 2008–2009. It is higher education, the third tranche of the Government’s promised ‘education revolution’, which is the education focus of the 2009–10 Budget. The higher education budget measures signal major structural reform for the sector, by encapsulating the Government’s response to the Review of Australian Higher Education (the Bradley Review) and introducing new indexation arrangements.

Total education expenses are estimated to increase in real terms by 60.9 per cent in 2009–10. This increase is mostly accounted for by the BER initiatives, which are short-term, the higher education budget measures and the transfer of expenditure from the social security portfolio area to education as a result of reforms of student income support payments.[1] The latter will mean that, in future, budget figures for total education outlay over time will not be directly comparable. It is also worth noting that from 2009, as a result of the new federal financial relations framework, the payment arrangements for the government components of child care, school and VET programs are now managed by Treasury. Hence these expenses now appear in the Treasury Portfolio Budget Statements rather than the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio Budget Statements.[2]

[1].    See the ‘Welfare payments—student income support’ section of this Budget Review for information on these reforms.

[2].    For further information about these arrangements, see Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2009–10: budget related paper no. 1.5: Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, 2009, pp. 16–17, viewed 20 May 2009,