National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

National initiatives and achievements

2.9 Other national initiatives

Building the Education Revolution

In 2008–09, the Australian Government committed $16.2 billion in funding over four years to provide new facilities and refurbishments in Australian schools to meet the needs of twenty-first century students and teachers through the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program.
The BER is the single-largest element of the Australian Government’s $42 billion Nation Building – Economic Stimulus Plan, providing economic stimulus by supporting jobs and infrastructure projects to modernise schools in every community across Australia.
BER funding has been allocated for about 24,000 projects in over 9,500 schools under the three elements of the BER:
  1. Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) – $14.1 billion for all Australian primary schools, K–12 schools (primary school component) and special schools to build new facilities such as libraries, multipurpose halls or classrooms, or to upgrade existing facilities.

  2. Science and Language Centres for 21st Century Secondary Schools (SLC) – $821.8 million for the construction of new science laboratories or language learning centres.

  3. National School Pride (NSP) program – $1.28 billion for all schools in Australia, government and non-government, for funding for minor capital works and maintenance projects.

Through the BER, the Commonwealth aims to:
  • Provide economic stimulus through the rapid construction and refurbishment of school infrastructure.

  • Build learning environments to help children, families and communities participate in activities that will support achievement, develop learning potential and bring communities together.

The BER is underpinned by a strong partnership approach between the Australian, State and Territory governments and non-government education authorities.
The Commonwealth, States, Territories and Block Grant Authorities (BGAs) agreed to work in partnership to deliver the BER in accordance with:
  • the National Partnership Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan: Building Prosperity for the Future and Supporting Jobs Now
  • the Bilateral Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan that the Commonwealth has with each State and Territory

  • the Funding Agreement supporting the Building the Education Revolution: the National Partnership Agreement on Nation Building and Jobs Plan (BGA Funding Agreement) with each BGA.

In addition, the Commonwealth, States, Territories and BGA responsibilities are set out in program guidelines.

The Australian Government announced in November 2009 that $500 million of BER funding would be rephased from 2010–11 to 2011–12.
The BER program is scheduled to be completed by 31 March 2011 with the exception of those projects, which as part of the rephasing of BER funds, will have their completion date extended into the next financial year.

Rephasing will impact the P21 element of the program, with the majority of P21 projects expected to be complete by 31 March 2011.