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Labor threatens low fee independent and religious schools over callous school building tax

The Albanese Government’s failure to rule out an effective school building tax is putting the future of low fee independent and non-government schools at risk.

The proposal by the Productivity Commission to abolish tax deductions for donations to school building funds would strip more than 3 billion from non-government schools each year.

The National Catholic Education Commission estimates it would cost catholic schools $2 billion a year alone.

Shadow Minister for Education, Sarah Henderson, said the Albanese Government’s continuing attacks on the non-government school sector will be a key issue at tomorrow’s Senate estimates hearing into the education portfolio.

“School building funds are critical to the viability of many low fee independent and religious schools,” Senator Henderson said.

“Without deductible gift recipient (DGR) status, schools would be stripped of billions of dollars of funding each year. Low fee-paying schools would suffer the worst, putting their viability at risk.

“Education Minister Jason Clare’s failure to rule out this callous school building tax shows Labor’s contempt for the non-government school sector.

“This proposal is a shocking attack on one-third of Australian parents who choose to send their child to a non-government school.

Senator Henderson said the school building tax, attacks on religious freedoms and teaching scholarships which discriminate against non-government schools demonstrate the Albanese Government’s increasing hostility towards a sector that deserves better.

“At a time when enrolments in non-government schools are surging, Minister Clare can do little more than ignite a school funding war.

“This government has a responsibility to protect the funding of all Australian schools including low fee-paying schools and those in regional and remote Australia where student numbers are reduced, and capital is scarce.

“This proposal threatens to rip the heart out of the non-government sector and force up school fees, imposing even greater cost of living burdens on Australian families,” Senator Henderson said.

“Parents choose faith-based and independent schools because they want their children educated in a community where staff adhere to or support the traditions of that institution.

“We believe this is fundamentally about the rights of parents.  This dishonest Albanese Government is breaking its commitment to schools and parents on this issue.”


  • Independent Schools Australia says school communities provide about 86 per cent of capital funding or $1.14 billion of parental contributions spend on capital development. Source:
  • Catholic school families contribute nearly 90 per cent of the costs required to support school buildings and other capital works in Catholic schools or around $2 billion. Source:

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