News, VIC

Unfair budget discriminates against Independent school parents

The Victorian budget unfairly discriminates against parents with children in Independent schools by excluding the overwhelming majority of them from the School Saving Bonus, Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) claims.

While the bonus is available to all parents with children in government schools, including those on high incomes, it is restricted to holders of concession cards at non-government schools, the organisation said.

This means that, out of total enrolments of more than 165,000 students in Victorian Independent schools, only about 17,000 will be eligible for the $400 payment.

“The discriminatory restriction attached to the bonus is based on the false assumption that all parents in Independent schools are immune from cost-of-living pressures,” ISV Acting Chief Executive Ms Meg Hansen said.

“Equally it assumes that all parents with children in government schools face those same pressures. The conditions attached to the bonus appear to be based on a dated stereotype.”

Ms Hansen said similar false stereotypes apply to the payroll tax imposed on Independent schools in last year’s budget.

“Like last year’s, the 2024 budget assumes families who choose to educate their children in Independent schools aren’t under financial strain, and that it is fair to discriminate against them.

“This year’s budget will be extremely disappointing to the growing number of parents, many of them on low to middle incomes, who chose an Independent school that matches the needs of their children.”

According to data in The Independent School Student, an Independent Schools Australia research report released in September 2023, close to half of high-income earners (families with an annual household income of $195,000 or more) send their children to government schools. Only 25 per cent send their children to Independent schools.

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