ACT Labor supporting non-government students

ACT Labor believes that education is the right of every child and lifelong learning is the foundation of this city’s prosperity in our second century.
On average, Canberrans are the best educated, best paid and healthiest people in Australia.  We have one of the lowest student to teacher ratios in Australia, we spend more on our students than ever before, and we continue to build better schools and invest in our teachers.

ACT Labor will deliver fairer funding for every child based on need.

We have delivered record funding to Catholic and non-government schools in the ACT.  That funding has provided new computers, better buildings and classrooms, support for students with a disability, and for teacher development.

We have been increasing funding to students in non-government schools every year - from $30.7 million in 2001-02 to over $53.2 million in our latest budget.

This is an increase of over 70 percent from the historic lows inherited from the previous Liberal Government.

ACT Labor is committed to providing funding where Canberra students are in need, regardless of what school they attend.

In contrast, the Liberals’ motivation is to divide our education system into two.  We disagree with this divisive approach to education.  Labor has always held at its core that our priority must be to provide education to all.  It’s that simple.

In 1969 Gough Whitlam said:

“All teachers and all parents want education taken out of politics and politics taken out of education.”

ACT Labor stands by this principle today.  We don’t need election policies which tie funding for schools to the electoral cycle.  We want a system that delivers fairer funding for every single student, always.

These are core Labor values.

That’s why Federal Labor commissioned the Gonski Review of School Funding.  We know the Gonski reforms will deliver fairer funding based on need.

The ACT Labor Government is already working with the Federal Government to transition to a Federal needs-based funding system.

We come to the negotiating table with the core belief that there must be fairer funding for every Canberra student.

The Seselja Liberals do not support this principle.  They will not go to the table with a commitment to deliver fairer funding for all students because they don’t support the Gonski reforms and they don’t believe in funding based on need.

But ACT Labor does.

If re-elected, ACT Labor will ensure fairer funding for every student by investing $18.5 million in needs-based funding to support non-government students over the next four years.

It includes $11 million dollars to support non-government students, and $5 million to support non-government preschool students, based on need.

ACT Labor has already committed to funding ICT in non-government schools through the $2.5 million Smart School, Smart Student grants.

Policy costings

ACT Labor will deliver an additional $18.5 million in recurrent funding targeted towards the students who need it most in the non-government sector.

This funding is provided in addition to our record levels of funding to the non-government sector through three key initiatives: Smart School Smart Student grants to help fund or subsidise the installation of fast broadband infrastructure in ACT non-government schools; the provision of grants through the Supporting non-government students initiative, and by establishing a funding pool for grants to existing and new non-government preschools in most need.


ACT Labor supporting non-government students







Smart School, Smart Student






Supporting non-government students






Supporting non-government preschools




















*Note: Figures may not total due to rounding.

Supporting non-government students

Funding from the supporting non-government students initiative will be delivered as recurrent grants and will utilise where possible existing systems of assessing need, such as the Student Centric Assessment of Need (SCAN), and will also seek to use more complex Commonwealth methods for targeting educational disadvantage as they become available.Successful grant applications will have to address one or more of the following areas of need:
  • students with a disability;
  • students from an Indigenous background;
  • students from low socio-economic status backgrounds; and
  • students with a low-level of English language proficiency.
The initiative will help schools support more students with a disability, Indigenous students and disadvantaged students.This funding is indexed annually in line with indexation to GPO funding for government students.Program funding will become part of the Territory’s contribution to a Federal needs-based funding system once the Commonwealth implements the recommendations of the Gonski Review of School Funding and creates a national needs-based system of education funding.

Supporting non-government preschools

There are currently 873 preschool students enrolled in non-government preschools.

ACT Labor has a proud record of investing in the early years.  We have already opened 4 new Early Childhood schools in Narrabundah, Isabella Plans, Lyons and Scullin (Southern Cross).  The O’Connor Co-operative School continues to operate as a Preschool to Year 2.  The schools are a highly successful model of early years learning that provide children with the best start to their early development and education.

We are also building a new, purpose built centre in Franklin to look after 300 preschool to year 2 students.

ACT Labor wants to make sure that all early childhood education, delivered in both the government and non-government sector, continues to provide the high quality early childhood education that the Canberra school system is renowned for.

Grants under this initiative will be provided to help establish preschools or to provide ongoing support through initiatives such as upgrades and resources.  Eligibility will be based on need and assessed by the same criteria as the supporting non-government schools initiative.