Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia

This release has ceased

Statistics about government education revenues and expenses across jurisdictions and levels of government in Australia

Reference period
2020-21 financial year

Key statistics

In the year 2020-21 across all levels of government:

  • Total education expenses was $116.4b
  • School education expenses was $59.5b
  • Tertiary education (Universities and TAFE) expenses was $40.2b

This is the final publication of Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia. From 2021-22, Education Tables 1-19 will be published as part of Government Finance Statistics, Annual publication (latest release).

Content published as web tables in previous Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia releases are available in Education Tables 1-2 in the Data downloads section below.

Unless indicated, all figures presented in this publication are current prices, original series.

One article is included in Government Finance Statistics, Annual, 2020-21 publication:

Operating expenses on education by purpose, all levels of government
 2017-182018-192019-202020-212019-20 to
$m$m$m$m% change
School education51,52854,15458,09559,4872.4
Tertiary education35,98038,38141,56440,240-3.2
Other education12,10512,59414,11116,72118.5
Total education99,613105,129113,770116,4472.4
Education gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) by purpose, all levels of government
 2017-182018-192019-202020-212019-20 to
$m$m$m$m% change
School education2,8593,5174,3214,81011.3
Tertiary education3,7574,4675,0883,099-39.1
Other education 466 7971,0861,1929.8
Total education7,0838,78110,4959,101-13.3

Revisions and changes


Statistical revisions are carried out regularly in Government Finance Statistics (GFS) to reflect the most current information and data available.

Non-government school education historical revision

The ABS has reclassified payments to non-government schools in the 2020-21 annual GFS publication. The ABS recognise:

  • non-government schools as market producers (market, non-profit institutions)
  • government payments to non-government schools as the purchase of a service on behalf of households

Under the previous classification:

  • non-government schools were classified as non-market Non-Profit Institutions Serving Households (NPISH)
  • government payments to non-government schools were classified as a transfer to households

This result in a reclassification to benefits to households in goods and services in GFS. Commonwealth and state government financial reporting will continue to separately recognise their funding contributions to non-government schools.

The National Accounts will implement this change in the upcoming 2021-22 release.

Divergences with government fiscal reporting

Divergences between state and commonwealth government financial reporting and GFS may occur because of conceptual determinations and timing recognition differences, to ensure alignment with economic activity as measured across ABS macroeconomic statistics.

These differences primarily impact:

  • measures of government subsidies and other support payments to businesses and households
  • non-employee expenses
  • change in inventories

Accounting standard changes

From 1 July 2019, government financial reporting implemented the following Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) standard changes:

  • Leases (AASB 16)
  • Revenue recognition (AASB 15 & 1058)
  • Service Concession Arrangements (AASB 1059)

GFS outputs are consistent with the historical treatments, which has resulted in increased divergences between economic statistics publications and government financial reporting.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 impacted a range of Government Finance Statistics series over the preceding two years.

As new government policies were announced, the key policies and conceptual determinations were discussed in articles including:

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number cat. no. 5518.0.55.001.

Related releases

Government Finance Statistics, Annual

Statistics about finances of the general government and public corporation sectors for the various levels of government in Australia.

  • The 2020-21 issue of Government Finance Statistics, Annual was published on 26 April 2022.

Data downloads

Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia, 2020-21

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