2019 Queensland State Budget
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 5, 5 July 2019, page no. 12
The 2019-20 Queensland Budget allocates $13.762 billion to the Department of Education and Office of Industrial Relations. The total allocation to the portfolio consists of:
|Early Childhood Education and Care||293||--||293|
|Office of Industrial Relations||167||--||167|
The QTU State Budget Submission had called for education’s proportional share of the Budget to increase to 25 per cent and be sustained at that level across the forward estimates. Across the past five Queensland government Budgets, education’s proportional share has increased from 24.2 per cent in 2015-16 to 24.9 per cent in 2019-20.
|Education’s proportional share||23.4%||22%||22%||23%||23.5%||24.2%||24.1%||24.2%||24.3%||24.9%|
QTU campaign wins
There are three announcements in the 2019-20 Queensland Budget papers of which all QTU members can be justly proud. The education service area highlights include “Implementing the Queensland Government Response to the Queensland NAPLAN Review in partnership with key education stakeholders.” The commitment to review NAPLAN was one of the conditions of the decision to lift the NAPLAN Online ban.
QTU members also campaigned for the government to commit to ongoing funding of early childhood development programs (ECDPs) across Queensland, and an education service area highlight is the allocation of “$63.6 million over four years from 2019-20 to continue provision of early childhood development programs and services.”
The QTU State Budget Submission called on the Queensland Government to establish a fund to improve climate control measures in Queensland state schools. The 2019-20 Budget commits $100 million to the “Air-conditioning in state schools” program, allocating $25 million per year across the forward estimates. The education service delivery statement allocates $97 million to the “Advancing Clean Energy in Schools” program to upgrade and install solar and energy efficiency measures in Queensland state schools.
Investing in education facilities
The QTU State Budget Submission called on the Queensland Government to establish a capital works fund that ensures that every community has access to modern state-of-the-art school facilities and services, as well as commit to resolving long standing school maintenance issues. The QTU welcomes the commitment to continue the $235 million “Renewing our Schools” program across the forward estimates and to allocate $225.7 million to school maintenance, ensuring funding for maintenance remains at 1 per cent of state school asset replacement value.
The QTU also welcomes the “Building Future Schools” fund across the forward estimates.
There are five new schools planned for 2020 to meet the demand for state schooling in growing communities. The QTU particularly welcomes the $69 million commitment for the new special school at Palmview and urgently needed redevelopment and expansion of Caboolture and Currimundi Special Schools.
|2018-19 $’000||2019-20 $’000||2020-21 $’000||2021-22 $’000||2022-23 $’000|
|Building Future Schools Fund – increased funding||21,700||146,500||172,800||102,900||49,900|
Investing in teachers
The 2019-20 Queensland Budget allocates funds to employ 1,000 additional teachers in 2020 as part of the 3,700 required over the forward estimates to cover growth in state school student enrolments. An additional 150 teachers and 90 full-time equivalent teacher-aides will be employed to cater for additional students in special education and to give students with disability more support, and $14.4 million is allocated over four years to employ up to an additional 45 instrumental music teachers.
The Budget papers also commit to supporting state school students’ mental health and wellbeing through the provision of mental health coaches and additional specialist guidance officer positions.
Funding for training is allocated in the Small Business, Employment and Training portfolio, which receives a 2.5 per cent increase in the 2019-20 Queensland Budget to $978 million. The QTU recognises the heavy lifting of the state, and that the Commonwealth share of the state’s training budget continues to decline, from 43.7 per cent in the 2016-17 Budget, to 34.1 per cent in the 2019-20 Budget.
Investing in TAFE facilities
The QTU has called for state and federal governments to commit to investing in TAFE and welcomes the Queensland Government’s allocation of $105 million to a capital works program for TAFE. In 2019-20, the Queensland Government is allocating $10 million to Alexandra Hills TAFE, $15 million to both Gold Coast TAFE and Mount Gravatt TAFE, $13.93 to Pimlico TAFE, and $5.028 million to Toowoomba TAFE. An additional $25 million is allocated for a safety and compliance program in Queensland’s TAFE facilities and $21.9 million to renew and refurbish Queensland’s statewide training assets.
The QTU had long called for a Queensland Training Ombudsman and the reinstatement of Skilling Queenslanders for Work program and welcomes the Queensland Government’s commitment to continue both. The QTU also welcomes the commitment to continue funding free TAFE for year 12 school-leavers, to cover the cost of 160 high priority skills qualifications. To date, 6,000 school-leavers have accessed free TAFE after leaving school.
Continued campaigning required to secure education funding
The QTU continues to negotiate for improved pay and conditions in our schools EB9 and TAFE EB10 campaigns, and it is worth noting that the 2019-20 Queensland Budget has not included some measures called for in the QTU State Budget Submission, including:
- central funding of recommendations arising from the Promotional Positions Classification Review
- delivery of salary increases that create greater parity with interstate salary rates
- securing the state’s teacher workforce by maximising permanency
- improving gender equity in Queensland’s public education workforce
- addressing teacher workload by reviewing non-contact time
- expanding the Mentoring for Beginning Teacher program.
The QTU also notes that the 2019-20 Queensland Budget papers lead with a boast about $1.4 billion in additional funding committed for Queensland schools between 2019 and 2023 under a new federal school funding deal signed with the Morrison government just prior to the federal election. The Budget papers ignore the fact that this extra funding does not make up for the $4 billion shortfall in total funding for Queensland schools. The outcome condemns our state school system to the second lowest funding level of any state or territory, reaching only 69.3 per cent of the legislated 75 per cent state contribution.
Several jurisdictions are currently reducing their contributions down to 75 per cent from levels as high as 90 per cent (in the ACT). This impact on Queensland is compounded by the legislated cap of a 25 per cent contribution from the federal government to state schools also being under-delivered across the nation, with the Morrison government only offering a maximum 20 per cent contribution.