Cover of the Schooling Resource Standard in Australia report

The Schooling Resource Standard in Australia
Impacts on public schools

By Adam Rorris

Purpose of Analysis
The purpose of this expenditure analysis is to examine the extent to which budget allocations and financial agreements (between governments) will enable public schools to attain the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) minimum funding levels that have been negotiated between governments.

The SRS is minimum funding required
The Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) is an estimate of how much total public funding a school needs to meet its students’ educational needs, and is based on recommendations from the 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling, led by Mr David Gonski AC. The SRS is made up of a base amount for all primary and secondary students and up
to six needs-based loadings for student priority cohorts and disadvantaged schools.
The SRS funding amounts were calculated by analysing funding levels in schools (known as ‘reference schools’) including where at least 80 per cent of students... READ FULL DOCUMENT 

Cover of The Consequences of Fiscal Austerity in Western Australia report

The Consequences of Fiscal Austerity in Western Australia

By Dr. Cameron Murray and Troy Henderson
Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute

This report critically responds to the call for fiscal austerity and public sector downsizing, being made in response to the emergence of fiscal deficits in Western Australia (WA). Those deficits arose in the wake of the slowdown in mining activity and corresponding deceleration of employment and economic growth. Many observers immediately conclude that the only response to a deficit must be some combination of cutting program spending, reducing public sector employment, freezing or reducing public sector wages, and selling public assets.

In reality, there should be no alarm about the WA state deficit. To the contrary, that deficit merely confirms that state fiscal policy is in fact doing what it is supposed to: namely, provide essential public services that make a key contribution to quality of life and the health of communities, and provide a solid base for private-sector economic activity (including helping to stabilise private-sector activity through its inevitable ups and downs). Knee-jerk spending cuts or asset sales in response to deficits that are caused by cyclical developments in the private-sector economy would only make matters worse in the short-run – and they would significantly undermine the public sector’s capacity to provide sustainable public services in the .... READ FULL REPORT 

Cover of The Disadvantage Burden of Public Schools is Three Times That of Private Schools report

The Disadvantage Burden of Public Schools is Three Times That of Private Schools

By Trevor Cobbold 
Education Research Paper, June 2021

Public schools have to do much more than private schools with far fewer resources. New figures show that public schools continue to bear the large burden of education disadvantage. Enrolments of disadvantaged students in public schools are over double that in private schools but public schools have far less income. The burden of disadvantage for public schools is three times that of private schools when their lower income is considered.

The circumstances in which public schools have to operate are abominable and deplorable. Society expects public education to deliver a quality education for all students. Yet, governments continue to starve public schools of the resources they need to meet the challenge of disadvantage. Public schools are vastly underfunded for the challenges they face while private schools are vastly over-funded for what they do.

This is likely to continue for the rest of the decade under current Commonwealth and state government funding arrangements which heavily favour private schools ..... READ FULL REPORT

Why public sector pay caps are bad for the economy

Source: Troy Henderson and Jim Stanford
Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute
1.    Pay caps affect broader wage growth through:

A composition effect
This is the direct impact of lower public sector wage growth on the overall weighted average wage growth of the total labour market. Governments, state and federal, are the biggest employers in Australia.

A demonstration effect
This is the impact of suppressed public sector wages on expectations and wage setting by private sector employers. Public sector wage policies are a visible benchmark for wages in the private sector and the public sector is the largest employer in the country.
A macro-economic effect
By suppressing wage growth, incomes and consumer spending are undermined. Public sector austerity ensures that overall aggregate demand is reduced. This affects retail trade and other consumer sensitive areas.  READ MORE.