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Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia

Statistics about education related revenues and expenditures across various levels of government in Australia

Reference period
2017-18 financial year

Main features

Government expenditure on education in Australia

This release contains statistics on expenditure on education by the general government sector for the period 2008-09 to 2017-18. These data are presented on an accrual accounting basis and are taken from the system of Government Finance Statistics (GFS).

Government expenditure on education refers to expenditure on all levels of education, such as pre-primary, primary, secondary, university, and technical and further education (TAFE), by the general government sector. It excludes expenditure on courses provided by non-educational institutions, such as the vocational training programs of private businesses. In this release, school education collectively refers to pre-primary, primary and secondary education.

The summary tables below present government operating expenses on education by level of government, by purpose (i.e. by type of education), and by economic transaction (i.e. by type of expenditure) for the period 2012-13 to 2017-18.

Operating expenditure on education by all levels of general government increased by $4,258m (4.5%), from $95,359m in 2016-17 to $99,617m in 2017-18. Total expenditure on education by the Commonwealth Government was $37,257m, with expenditure by the state and local governments totalling $65,183m. Intra-sector transfers were $32,260m.

Of the total operating expenditure on education in 2017-18, $51,496m (51.7%) was spent on school education and $36,194m (36.3%) on tertiary education (universities and TAFEs). Employee expenses of $49,925m accounted for 50.1% of total educational expenses with the remaining 49.9% being on non-employee expenses ($24,222m), depreciation ($4,275m), and transfer expenses ($21,195m).


Government operating expenses on education, by level of government

Commonwealth Government32 70333 29134 29434 65536 14837 257
State and local governments53 60055 57657 30059 50162 26665 183
Control not further defined (a)22 88523 58425 57526 63628 00829 437
Less: Intra-sector transfers25 47526 67028 65929 53931 06332 260
All levels of government83 71285 78188 51091 25395 35999 617

a. The Control not further defined (n.f.d) sector contains units where jurisdiction is shared between two or more governments, or the classification of a unit to a jurisdiction is otherwise unclear. For education the only type of units falling into this category are public universities.

Government operating expenses on education, by purpose, all levels of government

School education41 83643 08044 64546 74848 89951 496
Tertiary education29 95430 54232 00533 02834 54036 194
Other education11 92212 15911 86011 47711 92011 927
Total by purpose83 71285 78188 51091 25395 35999 617


Government operating expenses on education, by economic transaction, all levels of government

Employee expenses41 48042 30943 76245 69647 73249 925
Non-employee expenses20 17520 86421 72121 94423 03424 222
Depreciation3 5413 7263 8544 0204 1854 275
Current transfer expenses18 11918 44718 95419 35420 15220 951
Capital transfer expenses398436219240257244
Total by economic transactions83 71285 78188 51091 25395 35999 617



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Data downloads

Tables 1-19 Government finance statistics, education, australia