National Report on Schooling in Australia 2012

Funding Australia’s schools

8.5 Capital expenditure

State and territory capital expenditure for government schools

As shown in Table 8.9, capital expenditure by state and territory governments in government schools was $2.7 billion in 2012 (the 2011–12 financial year).

This table combines funding provided from the Australian Government and state and territory sourced funding. It should be noted that it is no longer possible to separate this funding following the Australian Government’s decision in 2009 to amalgamate specific purpose capital funding with a broadbanded recurrent specific purpose payment under the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on Federal Financial Relations.

As Table 8.9 illustrates, there has been an increasing level of capital expenditure over the past five years. This is an increase of more than 39 per cent over the five-year period 2007–08 to 2011–12.

The increase in capital expenditure reflects both:

  • the Australian Government’s injection of capital funds in recent years under the Investing in Our Schools Program, Building the Education Revolution (BER), the Trade Training Centres and the Digital Education Revolution National Partnerships. (The National Partnership Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan, including the BER, expired in December 2012.)
  • specific initiatives by various state and territory governments to invest in school infrastructure.

Capital funding and expenditure will, by their nature, reflect the need for capital infrastructure development and building programs associated with growth cycles in enrolments generally, and more specifically, in growth regions and corridors in a state or territory, as well as having regard to the age and condition of existing capital stock. By contrast, changes in recurrent expenditure will reflect the ongoing teaching and curriculum costs associated with schools and be relatively smoother in nature.

Table 8.9 Capital expenditure by state and territory governments in government schools, Australia, 2006–07 to 2010–11 financial years (accrual basis) ($'000)

Table 8.9 Capital expenditure by state and territo


Figures include Australian Government capital grants contributions.

Components may not add to totals due to rounding.

Sources: SCSEEC, National Schools Statistics Collection, 2012; National Report on Schooling in Australia, 2008–12

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 49

Australian Government capital funding

Table 8.10 provides a summary of Australian Government capital funding in 2012.

The previous Specific Purpose Program capital element was rolled into the National Schools Specific Purpose Payment (recurrent funds) for government schools under the COAG arrangements that commenced in 2009. These funds can now be used flexibly by jurisdictions for either capital or recurrent purposes. Capital funding continues as a separate program for the non-government sector.

There are also National Partnership funded programs and the Nation Building and Jobs Plan, which incorporate programs of a capital nature. The Building the Education Revolution, Trade Training Centres and Digital Education Revolution Australian Government capitalfunded programs are appropriated under the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009 and expended by states and territories through both recurrent and capital accounts based on the nature of the expenditure and the capitalisation thresholds that apply.

By the close of 2011, the majority of projects funded under the Australian Government’s Building the Education Revolution program were completed physically and financially in government and non-government schools. Only a relatively minor level of this program’s works required finalisation after 2011.

Under the Building the Education Revolution program the most common types of work in both primary and secondary schools were the construction or refurbishment of classrooms and specialist facilities such as art, performing arts, technology, library, science and music/drama areas. Other capital projects that were funded by the Australian Government included boarding facilities, student amenities and staff administration areas. Capital funding also contributed to the provision of new schools in the non-government sector.

Table 8.10 Australian Government specific purpose payments for schools by government/ non-government, capital, Australia, 2011–12 financial year (accrual basis) ($'000)

Table 8.10 Australian Government specific purpose

(a) From 1 January 2009 capital expenditure for government schools is included in the National Schools SPP. Capital grants totalling $137.0m have been rolled into the National Schools SPP for non-government schools.

(b) The Trade Training Centres in Schools Program operates as a 'deemed' national partnership through 'Overarching Funding Agreements' with all government and non-government education authorities.

Sources: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), Final Budget Outcome (FBO) 2011–12, pp. 78–9; SCRGSP (Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision)

2014, Report on Government Services 2014, (Productivity Commission,), Table 4A.9.

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 59, 60 and 61