Federal Election 2019


The following information summarises the respective school education policies and announcements of the three major parties announced to date, assessed against key issues of concern to Independent schools.

This page will be updated as new information becomes available.  A PDF version of the following school policy overview can be downloaded here.

School funding


Additional $37 billion in schools over the next decade (to 2029), with $8 billion of funding going to Independent schools.

The Government is providing $310 billion in schools over the decade, with $80 billion of funding going to Independent schools.

This will increase average funding for schools of 62% per student.


Implement a needs-based sector-blind school funding model consistent with the original Gonski recommendations.

Retain existing government funding for non-government schools plus an additional $14 billion to government schools over 10 years.

Targeted needs-based investment to overcome disadvantage, including for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students with disability, students with limited English, rural and remote area-students.


Will ensure every public school reaches 100% of the SRS by 2023 by investing $20.5 billion over the next ten years, legislating to remove the cap on Commonwealth contributions to public schools and cancelling the “special deal for private schools.”

Increase the Capital Grants Program funding to $400 million a year and expand it to include government schools, guaranteeing 80% of the fund for government schools.

Teaching and curriculum


Testing trainee teachers to ensure they are in the top 30% for literacy and numeracy.

All student teachers must pass a practical assessment before graduation to ensure they have the skills to handle a classroom.

Establishing a national centre of excellence and research to provide evidence and resources for teachers.

Refocussing the Australian Curriculum on essentials.

$10.8 million to provide a voluntary phonics health check for every Year 1 student.

$9.5 million over four years from 2019-20 to establish new online courses and resources for the teaching of mathematics and phonics.

Online Safety Grants Program: $10 million to enable non-government organisations to deliver practical online safety education and training projects to support families and keep children safe online.

Extension of the Safer Communities Fund for religious organisations to increase security at their premises. Round 4 will include $55 million with priority to religious schools, places of religious worship and religious assembly.

Investment in encouraging greater gender equity in STEM in higher education, which may have follow-on implications in secondary schools.

Commitment of $22.5 million in 2019-20 to establish a National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.

An additional $15 million for Teach for Australia to train high achieving teachers who will become high quality school leaders in rural, remote or disadvantaged schools.


Rejuvenate Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers program, which recognises exceptional teaching and uses exceptional teachers to mentor colleagues.

$280 million into an Evidence Institute for Schools to conduct independent education research.

$30 million National Principals Academy, with training available to current and aspiring school principals and school leaders.

Will establish a new eSmart Digital Licence to equip children with critical digital skills and promote discussion about online safety.

From 2020 a new Swim Smart program to fund additional swimming lessons for schools that need it.

Will commit $6 million to restore federal funding for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.


No specific policies announced.

Students with disability


$28 billion to support students with disability as part of overall schools funding package.

$4 million information portal to support educating students with disability.


Increase funding for students with disability by $300 million over three calendar years from 2020 for specialised teaching and support, equipment, alterations to school facilities and technology.


Will “reverse cuts” to funding for students with a disability and ensure that disability funding tiers match the actual cost of delivery.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Schooling


Youth Education Package  - $200 million extra support to give more Indigenous students the support and mentoring they need through their secondary studies.

$4 million to create more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to complete year 12 through accommodation at AFL Cape York House in Cairns.

$2 million to expand the Country Education Partnership's Rural Inspire program, which aims to engage rural and regional students with further education.

Up to $3.6 million over two years to the Cathy Freeman Foundation to improve the education of Indigenous students in regional and remote communities.

$50 million to the Clontarf Foundation for its academies across Australia, to help more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian children to complete their education.


Labor say they will support organisations that improve school attendance, increase Year 12 completions and employment rates among Indigenous students.

$9 million for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) to continue their program that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students transition from high school to university.

$19.5 million on top of existing investments to create almost 8,000 new places in the Stars Foundation's successful programs to tackle educational disadvantage faced by First Nations' girls and young women - tripling the number of girls supported each year.


No specific policies announced.

Other policies relating to schools


Commitment to National Schools Chaplaincy program on a permanent basis, with a new anti-bullying focus.

The Coalition Government has referred anti-discrimination laws to the Australian Law Reform Commission for review (report due April 2020). They say they are committed to striking an appropriately balanced approach with any amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act to ensure discrimination against students is not acceptable, while at the same time ensuring religious educational institutions can teach and maintain rules consistent with their faith.

Removing all or part of the HELP debt for 3,100 graduate students who teach for a minimum of four years in very remote schools to encourage more teachers to work and stay working in very remote areas.

Provide funding for non-government schools via the Capital Grants Program to improve capital infrastructure where schools otherwise may not have access to sufficient capital resources. In 2019 Independent schools will receive $64 million.

$4.0 million in 2018-19 to assist schools impacted by the recent flooding in North Queensland.

$67.5 million over five years from 2018-19 to trial 10 national training hubs supporting school-based vocational education in regions with high youth unemployment, creating better linkages between schools and local industry.

$30.2 million Local School Community Fund in 2019-20 to fund priority projects in local school communities, including school activities, equipment and upgrades.

$5.0 million over three years from 2019-20 for Life Education Australia to develop a new range of free training resources to help teachers support the social and emotional needs of students.

$5.7 million over five years from 2018-19 to fund the delivery of arts programs through Music Australia, The Song Room, a mobile music education program and Bell Shakespeare.

$2.0 million over two years from 2019-20 to increase the public’s understanding of Australia’s democracy and political system by supporting the next stage of development of the Australian Constitution Centre at the High Court of Australia in Canberra.

$6.2 million program to introduce primary school students to the skills and concepts needed to pursue an engineering career.

Increase the rebate paid to schools located more than 1,500 kilometres from Canberra, under the current Parliament and Civics Education Rebate (PACER) program, for children to go on school excursions to Canberra.


The National Schools Chaplaincy Program will be amended to give schools a choice of a chaplain or secular social worker.

Labor will request the Australian Law Reform Commission complete its current enquiry in a shorter timeframe than April 2020.  They say they believe freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination are not mutually exclusive, and will maintain the indirect discrimination provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act for educational institutions to impose reasonable conditions, requirements or practices in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of a particular religion or creed.

Will target entry to teaching degrees to the top 30% of academic achievers.

Tax-free bursaries of $10,000 per annum for up to four years, to encourage high achievers into teaching.

Solar Schools program to help schools access solar panels and battery storage. Up to $1 billion in finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, potentially benefitting up to 4,000 schools.

$5 million National trial of Song Room primary school arts program that has been shown to boost literacy rates of disadvantaged children.

Charities with revenues in excess of a million dollars, as defined by the charities commission - would be required to report employee salaries above $100,000 by listing the number of employees in each $25,000 band starting from $100,000.


Ensure secular student support is provided in all schools.

Protect LGBTIQ+ rights in law, through a Charter of Rights and remove religious exemptions in federal anti-discrimination laws.


ISCA Resources

ISCA Independent Schools Electorate Map – Show all Independent schools in a nominated electorate, or identify the electorate any Independent school is located in.

Labor responds to issues raised by ISCA in relation to Independent sector priorities (13 May 2019)

Media Release – 20/02/2019 – Independent Schools Welcome Labor’s Commitment to Additional Students with Disability Funding

Independent Schooling in Australia 2018 Snapshot

Current Issues- Latest information and updates on current issues and developments affecting the Australian school policy landscape.

Education Commitments and Announcements by the Major Parties

The information contained on the ISCA website has been compiled from currently available policy information from the major political parties. Information will be updated as new policies are released.


The Coalition

Quality Schools – Australian Government policy 

Opportunities for Young Australians – Coalition election policy

Media Release – Our Plan for Education – 10 May 19

Media Release – Bringing Engineering to the Classroom – 30 April 2019

Media Release – Entsch Announces Extra $4 Million Indigenous Education Funding – 30 April 2019

Media Release – Record funding for education- 2 April 2019

Media Release – Supporting students with disability (16 Feb 2019)

Media Release – Preparing Young Australians for the Jobs of the Future (13 Feb 2019)

Media Release – Keeping school chaplains in schools (1 Feb 2019)


Australian Labor Party

Media Release – Solar to Deliver Cheaper Energy Bills for Schools – 29 Apr 2019

Media Release: Labor’s $300 Million Boost for Students with a Disability – 20 Feb 2019

Media Release: Tackling Childhood Obesity with Healthy Eating In Schools – 5 Mar 2019

Speech: World Class Schools – National Press Club Address – 20 Feb 2019

Media Release: $40K Cash Bonuses to Get Top Achievers into Teaching. 18 Feb 2019

Media Release: Labor’s Plan to Get More Australian Children Learning Languages. 15 Feb 2019

Media Release: Labor Wants All Australian Children to be Safe Online. 9 Feb 2019

Media Release: Labor’s Plan to Keep Our Kids Safe in the Water. 20 Jan 2019

Media Release: Labor to Invest $19.5M to Support First Nations Girls’ Education 22 Nov 2018

Media Release: Labor Will Deliver Extra Funding for Every Public School 31 Oct 2018


The Australian Greens

Media Release: Greens Slam Labor and Liberal – New Data Showing Private Schools Continue to Be Overfunded While Public Schools Suffer. 2 Feb 2019

Media Release: Private Schools Continue to be Showered in Cash Under Liberals and Labor 31 Jan 2019

Fully Funded Public Schools. The Australian Greens’ school funding policy Nov 2018


Associations of Independent Schools

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ): 2019 Federal Election

Independent Schools Victoria (ISV): 2019 Federal Election


Useful Links

The Liberal Party

The Nationals

Australian Labor Party

The Greens

Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA): 2019 Federal Election

Australian Parents Council (APC): 2019 Federal Election

Updated 15 May 2019
Authorised by B Wallett, Executive Director, Independent Schools Council of Australia, 12 Thesiger Court, Deakin ACT 2600
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