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Federal Government Announces Record Funding for Education Sector in 2020-21 Budget

08th October 2020

Education sector celebrates as the government dedicates a plentiful portion of federal budget 2020-21 to rebuilding and securing the workforce of the future through investing in quality education.

The 2020-21 budget for the education sector is larger than ever before, as the government recognizes the importance of investing in apprenticeships, learning, VET and higher education as a central part of the Governments Economic Recovery Plan for Australia, as well as guaranteeing the essential services Australia depends on.

These services more specifically consist of supporting the education system of Australia through the continued provision of more VET and higher education places, funding for short courses and investing in the Research and Development sector. Furthermore, the employment services system will continue to be monitored and reworked in alliance with meeting the needs of job seekers across Australia.

 

What did the Education sector want and need from the Federal Budget 2020-21?

The education sector has seen devastating ripple effects from the outset and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Lock-downs, social-distancing, border closures and cuts in funding, are just some of the many unsettling disruptions the education sector has faced in recent months. With still many uncertain challenges lying ahead, it was crucial to the sector that enough funding was invested to rebuild the economy post Covid-19.

Moreover, in their pre-budget submission, Universities Australia called for a focus of attention on a number of different recommendations including; stabilization funding for the research work force, hardship support for international students, a more focused investment on Research and development programmes, more incentive to attract international investment and a focus on attracting and retaining talent onshore.

 

What did the Budget Deliver for The Education and Employment Sector?

There are a vast number of important investments listed in the budget, highlights include:

  • $2.8 billion was allocated for 180,000 apprenticeships and traineeships. In this Budget, under the JobMaker Plan – Boosting Apprentices Wage Subsidy, $1.2 billion is allocated for 100,000 additional positions over the next four years, with the biggest allocation in 2021/22. Eligible businesses can claim up to 50% of an apprentice or trainees wage, capped at $7000 per quarter.
  • $298.5 million for 12,000 new Commonwealth supported higher education places deemed ‘national priority area’ in 2021.
  • $251.8 million 50,000 new higher education short courses in agriculture, health, IT, science and teaching, allocated over 2 years.
  • $238.9 million as transitional payments to the ‘Job-ready Graduates’, for the government to guarantee the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) payments for higher education providers between 2021 and 2023
  • $263 million over four years for Vocational Education and Training (VET). This includes $91.6 million for an apprenticeships data management system, $75.9 million for the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment, $52.3 million for literacy and numeracy skills, and $29.6 million for the National Careers Institute careers information.
  • $62.8 million for the Local Jobs Program, which will focus on reskilling, upskilling and employment pathways in 25 Employment Regions across Australia to assist people back into the workforce.

 

This sizeable budget is a welcome lifeline for the education sector and provides a sturdy foundation in rebuilding the workforce and economy of our future. Industry leaders just hope that this investment will be enough.

 

Written by Sophie Cunningham; 8th October 2020