Catholic Schools NSW is calling for the state government to follow the lead of Victoria where its Premier Daniel Andrews has promised $400 million in capital funding to low-fee Catholic and independent schools.
The extra money will be given over four years to assist the building and upgrading school facilities in Victoria.
“Now it’s time for the NSW Government to do the same,” said Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Schools NSW Dallas McInerney.
“The Victorian and Queensland governments provide much more capital funding support annually to a smaller number of non-government schools than the NSW Government does,” he added.
For example, he pointed out NSW currently gives $41m in capital funding for 944 non-government schools compared with Victoria’s $100m for 711 non-government schools.
“To put it into context, the NSW Government’s capital contribution is barely enough to build one new K-12 school each year. NSW Catholic schools offices are planning for growth of almost 10,000 additional students over the next three years, which will require up to 11 new schools and the expansion of 41 existing schools.”
Mr McInerney said the NSW Government must ease the pressure on non-government school parents, who fund the overwhelming bulk of capital works in their children’s schools.
“Catholic school parents fund 90 percent of capital projects through building levies and other fund-raising—on top of the fees they pay to support Catholic schools and the taxes that support all school sectors.
“It’s high time NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes recognised the important role played by non-government schools and increased his government’s capital funding contribution from the lowest among east coast states to the highest.
“The NSW Government has embarked on a $6 billion capital works program for government schools over four years. This is a wonderful investment which our sector supports. However, Mr Stokes should heed his own call to the Federal Government to provide ‘equal treatment for all schools, public and private’ and allocate a fairer share of capital funding to non-government schools, which educate one in three NSW students.”
Mr McInerney said all capital funding from government goes to the Catholic schools that need it most.
“This year, all state government funding supported 12 projects in places like in Nyngan, Wyalong, Branxton, Lewisham and growth areas like Marsden Park and Edmondson Park.”