New report lays bare Rockliff legacy of starving public schools of brick-and-mortar funding 

23 February 2024

“My vision for this state of Tasmania is to lead the nation in education.”

Jeremy Rockliff – 6 May 2015 

A new report released today sheds new light on the Rockliff Liberal Government’s legacy of starving Tasmanian public schools of brick-and-mortar funding, favouring tipping money into the private system. 

The Ending the Funding Capital Divide in Australia’s Schools report by the Federal Branch of the Australian Education Union shows the Tasmanian Rockliff Government spent less per student on public education infrastructure than any other jurisdiction, with annual capital investment at just $512 in the decade to 2021. 

AEU Tasmania President David Genford said the neglect by the Tasmanian Liberals of public-school infrastructure spending was shameful. 

“Ten years of a Tasmanian Liberal Government has left Tasmania with a public school system starved of basic funding required to maintain a safe, quality learning environment for every student. That is inexcusable,” said Mr. Genford. 

“In 2015 Premier Rockliff announced his vision that Tasmania would lead the nation in education. His legacy as Premier has been to leave Tasmania at the bottom of the pile. That is a disgrace,” he said. 

“In 2021 private school capital investment was 4.8 times investment in public schools. The blatant favouritism and largesse Premier Rockliff has displayed is astounding.” 

“Quality learning environments are vital for giving students the best start, instead they have been shortchanged by a decade of Liberal Government neglect.” 

“Principals have to deal with leaky roofs, temporary classroom infrastructure problems and fixing windows on top of dealing with their own unsustainable workload and a teacher recruitment crisis.” 

“We need a Government that will prioritise quality public education by committing to properly resourcing schools and ensuring Tasmania really does lead the nation in education. “ 

Report – Key Findings: 

  • The average annual per student capital investment 2012-2021 in Tasmania was $512 for public schools (lowest in country) and $1,971 for private schools
  • The Tasmanian Government would have had to spend $830.6m more over 2012-2021 to match the per student investment of private schools in capital works over that period. 
  • In 2021 Tasmanian Government capital investment of $664 per student was the lowest in the nation. Over the decade, public schools have received 26% of private school capital investment.
  • The Friends School and Fahan School both received funding this year from the Commonwealth’s Capital Grants Program, which is designed to assist schools in disadvantaged communities.
  • 2 private schools in Victoria (Caulfield Grammar and Haileybury College) spent more on capital works ($391.8 million combined) over the decade 2012-2021 than was invested in public schools in the entire state of Tasmania over the same period ($291.1 million).