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Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia

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

Reference period
2019-20 financial year

Key statistics

In the year 2019-20 across all levels of government:

  • Total government education expenses was $114.1 billion in 2019-20
  • Government school education expenses was $58.6 billion in 2019-20
  • Government tertiary education (Universities and TAFE) expenses was $41.5 billion in 2019-20

Main Features

COVID-19 drives revenue weakness and increased expenses in education

  • Weakness in education revenue reflects the decline in international arrivals due to COVID-19, and the resulting decline in overseas student revenue for universities.
  • Strength in education expenses reflect State Government increases through a range of public education policy measures for primary and secondary education, Commonwealth VET-FEE-HELP debt forgiveness, and monetary COVID-19 support payments for students.
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Key Tables

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Table 1. Operating expenses on education, all levels of government
 2018-192019-202018-19 to 2019-202018-19 to 2019-20
$m$m$m% change
 School education54 14158 6384 4978.3
 Tertiary education38 38441 4783 0948.1
 Other education12 60414 0301 42611.3
Total education105 129114 1469 0178.6
Table 2. Education gross fixed capital formation, all levels of government
 2018-192019-202018-19 to 2019-202018-19 to 2019-20
$m$m$m% change
 School education3 5174 32180422.9
 Tertiary education4 4675 08862113.9
 Other education7971 08628936.3
Total education8 78110 4951 71419.5
Table 3. Education sales of goods and services, all levels of government
 2018-192019-202018-19 to 2019-202018-19 to 2019-20
$m$m$m% change
 School education1 2111 242312.6
 Tertiary education20 43019 938- 492-2.4
 Other education246256104.1
Total education21 88721 436- 451-2.1
Table 4. Education expenses by purpose and level of government
  2014-152015-162016-172017-182018-192019-20
  $m$m$m$m$m$m
School education
 Commonwealth Government------
 State and local government1 0731 0861 1751 2531 2421 276
 Control n.f.d. (a)------
 less Intra-sector transfers656303133
Total all levels of government1 0671 0801 1691 2231 2111 242
        
Tertiary education
 Commonwealth Government91011102926
 State and local government1 5571 7551 6151 5291 2771 196
 Control n.f.d. (a)14 18615 04616 23717 61719 38318 963
 less Intra-sector transfers230229251256259247
Total all levels of government15 52216 58217 61218 90020 43019 938
        
Other education
 Commonwealth Government3231179942
 State and local government646067115243227
 Control n.f.d. (a)------
 less Intra-sector transfers111-613
Total all levels of government959083123246256

(a) Control n.f.d. refers primarily to public universities, as per the AGFS15 Concepts, Sources and Methods

Analysis

COVID-19 impacts tertiary education through increased expenses

Education expenses were $114.1 billion, an increase of $9.0 billion from the 2018-19 estimate of $105.1 billion.

Key drivers in 2019-20 were:

  • Primary and secondary education grew significantly in the 2019-20 financial year driven by a range of public education policy measures. State investment in frontline services, including additional schools, teachers and addressing a backlog of repairs and maintenance saw unprecedented levels of expenditure in education for the 2019-20 financial year.
  • University education began weakening compared to historical growth in the later half of the 2019-20 year. This was driven by the impact of COVID-19 on international student numbers and the subsequent removal or scaling back of courses. The major impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on university education is yet to be seen and will have a more pronounced impact in the 2020-21 financial year due to universities making further decisions to scale back operations.
  • Growth in Vocational education and training was driven by expenses related to debt forgiveness for students affected by unacceptable conduct by VET providers during the VET-FEE-HELP scheme.
  • Growth in Apprenticeships, traineeships and other was driven by the wage subsidy policy announced in the COVID-19 First Economic Stimulus package.
  • Growth in Education n.e.c. was driven by additional monetary transfers to households in Coronavirus Supplement and Economic Support Payments for students.
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(a) average annual movement for the 5 years preceding the current year

Education sales of goods and services fell sharply across a number of jurisdictions driven by COVID-19

Education sales of goods and services were $21.4 billion, a decrease of $0.5 billion from the 2018-19 estimate of $21.9 billion.

Key drivers in 2019-20 were:

  • Revenue from international students attending Australian universities drove the the largest drop in education revenue. This was driven by the impact of COVID-19 on international travel, limiting new and returning students ability to attend Australian universities through the second half of the 2019-20 financial year.
  • Universities with higher portions of international students saw the largest impacts due to reductions in international student revenue.
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(a) average annual movement for the 5 years preceding the current year

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 2019-20 issue of Government Finance Statistics, Annual was published on 27 April 2021.
     

Previous catalogue number

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

Tables 1-19 Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia