Education Minister Rob Stokes has said the Government is looking at a review into how education can be better funded, with a new plan expected to be unveiled next week.
The Government is expected to release its next education budget in March, but a draft plan for the review has been leaked online.
The plan, which is expected on Tuesday, outlines “reforms to align education funding to the Australian context”, and would involve the establishment of a “national, state and territory board” to monitor the quality of education in all states and territories.
Mr Stokes said that, in the run-up to the 2019 election, the Government was considering changes to the way Australia provides for higher education funding, and was looking at “how we can do better”.
He said a plan for a national review would be announced on Tuesday.
“I think that’s the most important thing to do because it’s going to be a matter for the Australian community, for the nation, and the Government will be taking a hard look at what we can achieve together,” he said.
“We’re looking at what the state and the territory boards can do, and we’ll be looking at the best way to do that together.”
Mr Stoke said he expected the Government would make a recommendation on the national review in the coming weeks.
“In the next couple of weeks I’m hoping to have the National Audit Office and the Commonwealth Auditor-General report on this and they’ll have a report that we can then take to the next stage,” he told ABC Radio National’s Today program.
The Australian Education Union said it was concerned about the potential impact of the national audit on the Government’s decision-making.
“It will be a very important tool for the Government to get its plan through, as well as potentially for the states and the territories,” the union’s national executive director, Michael Gannon, said.
The national audit will also examine whether funding is needed to keep the nation’s schools in good financial shape.
Mr Gannon said he was confident that a national funding plan for education was in the interests of Australia’s schools and that the Government should make that clear.
“That’s what the National Accounts are looking at,” he added.
“So this is a very, very important opportunity for the Minister to have to address those concerns and to set out the Government plans for the future.”
A report on the report has yet to be released.