Budget shock for Victorian independent schools

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Tuesday’s announcement of the Victorian Labour Government’s Budget revealed that 110 of the state’s top private schools (or around the top 15 per cent, by fee level) will lose their payroll tax protection from July 2024.

The budget measure will deliver an extra $420m over three years but both the opposition, and the independent education sector say that the decision will see parents hit with higher school fees.

Shadow treasurer Brad Rowswell described the plan as giving the education minister and the treasurer the opportunity to “whiteboard a hitlist of independent schools right across the state”.

According to the chief executive of Independent Schools Victoria, Michelle Green, the government’s announcement was made with no consultation. Ms Green also accused the government of using an “arbitrary” definition of a high-fee school.

- Advertisement -

Decision will disrupt the independent education sector

Describing the announcement as “a shock to independent schools” that will be “greeted with dismay by parents”, Ms Green said that the plan would impact schools in the mid-range too – and suggested that the education of students at the affected schools could suffer.

Meredith Peace, Victorian branch president of the Australian Education Union, seemed less bothered by the news and commented to local media that “everyone needs to pay their share”.

With the historical exemption to payroll tax set to come to an end, there is little doubt that schools will pass on costs to parents. Just how much remains to be seen.

Share This Article
Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]brandx.live