The New South Wales 2015 16 Budget has been released, with a heavy focus on new infrastructure and services. Here are some of the highlights for families and students.
The education sector was a major winner in this year's budget, with the government allocating $12.4 billion to schools including a boost in funding for non-government schools, which saw hefty cuts three years ago. Key initiatives include:
- $50 million for classroom and capital works at non-government schools
- $456 million for public school infrastructure, including new schools for Bella Vista, Dubbo, Narellan and Parramatta
- $348 million for early childhood education and care, including $20 million for a new Before and After School Care Fund' to establish 45,000 new places
- $224 million over four years for the Quality Teaching, Successful Students' program, which gives 1000 of the state's best teachers time to mentor other teachers and demonstrate effective teaching strategies
- $167 million over four years for the Supported Students, Successful Students' program, which will deliver more school counsellors and wellbeing resources, along with targeted support for Indigenous and refugee students and their families.
Vocational education and training
The government has also allocated $2.3 billion to vocational education and training (VET) to help address dwindling enrolment numbers in the sector, including:
- $101 million for TAFE construction and IT projects
- $48 million over four years for 200,000 fee-free scholarships for 15 to 30 year olds to undertake a government-subsidised VET course
- $8 million over four years to help provide pathways into education, training and employment for young people in regional areas
- $25 million for the Jobs of Tomorrow Scholarship Fund, which will provide 25,000 scholarships to students undertaking qualifications in technology-based industries.
TAFE enrolments have fallen substantially in the past year after the introduction of new TAFE reforms in January, which saw course fees increase for many courses. There were 30,000 fewer enrolments this year than last year, with certificate III enrolments falling by more than 18,000 students, according to the latest budget papers.
- Budget 2015 16 overview New South Wales Government
- NSW state budget 2015: TAFE reforms hit students hard The Sydney Morning Herald
- Federal budget delivers good news for school students and families