Economic Significance of Independent Schools to the Queensland Economy

ISCA’s colleagues at Independent Schools Queensland recently commissioned analysis to examine the economic significance of independent schools to the Queensland economy and the local economies in which they operate. The results showed that Queensland independent schools contributed $4.88 billion to Gross State Product (GSP), directly and indirectly through employment, infrastructure investment and international student programs in 2017-18.

According to the report, Economic Significance of Independent Schools to the Queensland Economy, 2020 Update, this economic contribution represents an average of $40,300 per Queensland independent school student – an average return of $3.66 for every $1 of state and federal government investment.

The Queensland independent schooling sector is also a significant employment generator, supporting 33,560 full-time direct and indirect jobs worth $2.95 billion in wages and salaries – the equivalent of 1 full-time job for every 3.6 independent school students.

The analysis by AEC Group – an independent global consultancy firm specialising in economic modelling – was commissioned by Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) to update modelling undertaken for the first time in 2016 using 2013-14 data.

The analysis shows Queensland independent schools added an extra $735 million to GSP (18% increase) and supported 2,702 extra jobs (9% increase) worth an additional $530 million in wages (22% increase) between 2013-14 and 2017-18.

Over the same four-year period the sector grew by an additional 6,000 enrolments to 121,000 students and 15 schools to 205 schools. At the start of the 2020 school year 218 independent schools enrolled almost 129,000 students.

ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the report revealed the influence and impact of independent schools – which educated 15% of school-age Queenslanders – extended beyond strong academic and civic outcomes.

“As our state and nation grapple with the economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic, this report reveals the critical role the independent schooling sector must continue to play to support jobs, build new social infrastructure, welcome fee-paying international students and build human capital,” Mr Robertson said.

“In the current environment every dollar and job generated by independent schools are vital to state and regional economic recovery in the short and long term.”

The report can be found at:


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