Education, Skills and Employment

The Education, Skills and Employment Portfolio’s purpose is to help create an inclusive and prosperous Australia by maximising opportunity though national leadership on education, skills and employment policy development and implementation.

The Portfolio works with state and territory governments, other Australian Government entities and a range of service providers to provide quality policy advice and services for the benefit of all Australians, and through its range of programs, supports Australians living in regional and rural communities.

As at 30 June 2020, the Education, Skills and Employment Portfolio employed 4,005 staff under the Public Service Act 1999. Of this total, 3,493 staff (87.2 per cent) are employed in Canberra, central Melbourne and central Sydney, 450 staff (11.2 per cent) in other capital cities and 62 staff (1.6 per cent) in regional areas.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has a presence across Australia including all capital cities, and a regional footprint with staff located in Bendigo, Alice Springs, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Newcastle and Orange.

New initiatives

Supporting the Child Care Sector through the COVID‑19 Pandemic

The 2020–21 Budget will invest funding in the child care system of $10.3 billion in 2020‑21. This includes the continued easing of Child Care Subsidy (CCS) activity test requirements until 4 April 2021, to enable eligible families across Australia whose employment has been impacted by COVID‑19 to receive up to 100 hours per fortnight of subsidised care. This will assist them to return to the level of work, study or training they were undertaking before the pandemic.

The Australian Government will also provide specific assistance to support Victorian Early Childhood Education and Care services to manage the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Along with the CCS payments, these services will receive $314.2 million to support them from 28 September 2020 to 31 January 2021, as restrictions ease. This is in addition to the $51.7 million provided by the Australian Government in 2020‑21 for Victorian services during the stage four lockdown restrictions.

These measures further build upon the COVID‑19 Response Package – Child Care included in the Economic and Fiscal Update July 2020, with the Government investing $2.6 billion over two years from 2019–20 through Business Continuity, Transition and Exceptional Circumstances payments to support the delivery and ongoing viability of Early Childhood Education and Care services throughout Australia during the pandemic.

Student Support Package – supporting students and teachers

The Australian Government remains committed to supporting improved education outcomes for school students impacted by COVID‑19, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged students, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and students in regional and remote areas.

The Australian Government will provide $21.5 billion in 2020‑21 for recurrent funding to Australian schools distributed on the basis of need.

The Australian Government will provide a further $146.3 million over five years from 2020‑21 to improve school education outcomes of young Australians, particularly disadvantaged students, regional students and those most impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic, as well as contribute to social cohesion. The package includes:

  • $39.8 million over four years from 2020‑21 for the Clontarf Foundation to enhance the education and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, with up to 12,500 participants in 2023. The National Indigenous Australians Agency will deliver increased funding in the 2021 and 2022 calendar years, and the Department in the 2023 calendar year.
  • $38.2 million over four years from 2020‑21 for The Smith Family to extend support through its Learning for Life program to a further 76,000 disadvantaged young Australians as they complete secondary school and move into work, training or further study.
  • $5.8 million over four years from 2020‑21 to develop, implement and evaluate a pilot program by Good to Great Schools Australia to support up to 10 remote and very remote schools to expand their Direct Instruction literacy program to include numeracy and science.
  • $27.3 million over five years from 2020‑21 to foster science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in early learners and school students through a range of proven STEM programs, including: the Australian Academy of Science’s STEM programs; The Smith Family’s Let’s Count program;  Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) STEM Professionals in Schools, Froebel Australia’s Little Scientists; and, the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) program delivered by the University of Canberra.
  • $6 million over four years from 2020‑21 to support social cohesion, including funding for the expansion of the Anti-Defamation Commission’s Click Against Hate program that will focus on digital Holocaust education, and expansion of the Islamic Museum of Australia’s online education programs.
  • $25 million over five years from 2020‑21 to establish a program to enable the Government to respond flexibly and quickly with targeted responses to emerging education priorities arising from COVID‑19.

These measures build upon the COVID‑19 Response Package - Support for Non‑Government Schools and School Funding – Additional Support for Students and Teachers measures in the Economic and Fiscal Update July 2020.

Research Package

In the 2020‑21 Budget, the Australian Government will provide $1 billion in 2020‑21 to safeguard Australia’s research sector against the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, through measures that protect university research funding and better align research investments with Australia’s future economic priorities, while continuing to support ground-breaking Australian research and the higher education sector.

New investments in university research and key research infrastructure include:

  • An additional $1 billion in 2020‑21 through the Research Support Program to support universities to continue the delivery of world class research.
  • $41.6 million over four years from 2020‑21 to establish a Strategic University Reform Fund to bring together universities and local industries to partner on innovative reform projects.
  • $20 million over four years from 2020‑21 to establish a Centre for Augmented Reasoning at the University of Adelaide to improve the application of machine learning in Australia.
  • $5.8 million in 2020‑21 to undertake a scoping study of potential options to accelerate the translation and commercialisation of research, including through new partnerships between universities and industry and opportunities for investments.

The Government will also deliver the 2020 Research Infrastructure Investment Plan (RIIP 2020) to continue implementation of the 2016 National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Roadmap. RIIP 2020 maintains the Government’s $1.9 billion, 12‑year funding envelope for national research infrastructure (NRI) and provides funding for four new NRI projects in national research priority areas.

These new projects will be met within the RIIP funding envelope, and include:

  • $36.3 million over three years from 2020‑21 for the early implementation of the Sea Simulator project to support the Great Barrier Reef Restoration and Adaption Program.
  • $8.9 million over three years from 2020‑21 to increase the capabilities of the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Indigenous e-research platforms.
  • $8.3 million over three years from 2020‑21 to establish new synthetic biology research infrastructure to facilitate rapid responses to emerging disease and biosecurity risks and address critical gaps in technological platforms and informatics.
  • $7.6 million over three years from 2020‑21 to upgrade the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) to increase Australia’s capacity to respond to future climate disasters and emergencies.

This measure builds on the 2018-19 Budget measure: National Research Infrastructure Investment Plan—implementation of Government response, and the 2019-20 MYEFO measure: Pilot Programs to Enhance Collaboration between Universities and Industry; and complements the Higher Education Reform — more job ready graduates; Higher Education Reform — additional support for regional Australia; and Higher Education – Additional Support measures.

Higher Education – additional support

In the 2020‑21 Budget, the Australian Government will provide $903.5 million over four years from 2020‑21 to provide more places and support for students, and to establish new quality protections for the higher education system as it recovers from the impacts of COVID‑19. The funding includes measures such as:

  • Creating disciplines of Professional Pathway Psychology and Professional Pathway Social Work to reduce the student contribution amounts for students studying units as part of a pathway to professional qualifications.
  • $251.9 million over two years from 2020‑21 for an additional 50,000 subsidised higher education short course places across a range of discipline areas.
  • $298.5 million over four years from 2020‑21 for an additional 12,000 Commonwealth supported places in national priority areas to further meet demand for higher education.
  • $19.2 million over four years from 2020‑21 (and $45.1 million over 10 years to 2029‑30), including service delivery, to revise the allocation method for the $5,000 Tertiary Access Payment and to enable universities to administer the payment to eligible outer regional, rural and remote commencing students who relocate for their studies.
  • $0.4 million over four years from 2020‑21 (including $0.3 million in capital funding and $1.2 million over 10 years to 2029‑30) to ensure students maintain a reasonable completion rate and do not take on excessive study loads and Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt.
  • Extending exemptions for eligible students from paying loan fees under the FEE HELP and VET Student Loans (VSL) programs to 30 June 2021.
  • Expanding the Tuition Protection Service from 1 January 2021 to provide services to full fee paying domestic higher education students, as well as waiving the 2020 HELP and VSL Tuition Protection Service from 1 January 2021 to further support their recovery from COVID‑19.

The Government will also guarantee Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) payments for higher education providers from 2021 to 2023 as they transition to new funding arrangements as part of the job-ready graduates’ reforms, and will maintain CGS funding caps at or above previous years' levels from 2025 at a cost of $238.9 million over four years from 2020‑21 (and $2 billion over 10 years to 2029‑30) and will support universities in managing the economic instabilities created by COVID‑19.

This measure complements and builds upon the Higher Education Reform — more job ready graduates; Higher Education Reform — additional support for regional Australia; and complements the Research Package measures in this Budget.

Higher Education Reform – additional support for regional Australia

Announced on 19 June 2020, the Australian Government is providing more than $400 million over four years from 2020‑21 to increase higher education access and attainment for regional Australians and to support higher education providers in regional Australia to grow their local economies.

This measure responds to the recommendations of the National Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy final report and includes:

  • $159.1 million over four years from 2020‑21 to provide a Tertiary Access Payment of $5,000 to eligible school-leavers from outer regional or remote areas to assist with the cost of moving closer to their tertiary education institution.
  • $145 million over four years to increase Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding for regional university campuses by 3.5 per cent a year.
  • $17.1 million over four years from 2020‑21 (including $0.5 million in capital funding and $13.9 million per year ongoing) to ensure all Indigenous students from regional and remote communities who meet admissions standards can gain access to a Commonwealth supported place at a higher education provider.
  • $0.7 million over four years from 2020‑21 to gain access to Fares Allowance so eligible students can visit their homes and families more often.
  • $21 million over four years from 2020‑21 (and $79.4 million over 10 years to 2030‑31) to strengthen the Regional University Centres program by establishing a central support network, evaluation program and additional centres throughout regional Australia.
  • $7.1 million over four years from 2020‑21 (and $1.8 million per year ongoing) to refocus the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) to provide more support to Indigenous students and students from regional and remote areas, including supporting more projects in regional areas to encourage students into higher education.
  • $48.8 million over four years from 2020‑21 (and $195.4 million by 2030‑31) to establish new partnerships between regional universities and other higher education providers or industry to undertake innovative research projects.
  • $6 million over four years from 2020‑21 (and $14.7 million over 10 years to 2030‑31) to appoint a dedicated Regional Education Commissioner to monitor implementation of the reforms and encourage increased participation in higher education throughout regional Australia.

This measure complements the Higher Education Reform — more job ready graduates; Higher Education – Additional Support; and Research Package measures.

Higher Education Reform – more job-ready graduates

Announced in the July Economic and Fiscal Update, the Australian Government will strengthen the higher education system through better university funding arrangements with targeted investment in areas of national priority, more opportunities for regional, rural and remote students, stronger links with industry, as well as improved transparency and accountability for the higher education sector.

This package aims to deliver more job-ready graduates in the disciplines and regions where they are needed most and help drive the nation's economic recovery from the COVID‑19 pandemic.

The reforms will be implemented from 1 January 2021 and include:

  • Expanding access to higher education by increasing the number of Commonwealth supported places (CSPs), especially in regional Australia, with an additional 39,000 places provided by 2023 and an additional 100,000 places provided by 2030.
  • Greater flexibility for universities to determine their allocation of CSPs to increase options and pathways for students to higher education.
  • Fairly sharing the costs of higher education between students and taxpayers, with course fees better aligned to teaching costs, and lower student contributions in priority areas such as science, teaching, nursing, agriculture and mathematics.
  • $900 million over four years from 2020‑21 (and $239.9 million per year ongoing) to establish a National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund to increase partnerships between universities and industry to ensure more students gain industry experiences and job ready skills.
  • Consolidating funding from existing programs to establish the Indigenous, Regional and Low SES Attainment Fund, which will encourage universities to improve higher education attainment among regional, Indigenous and low-socioeconomic status students.
  • Reducing the FEE-HELP loan fee for students from 25 per cent to 20 per cent to align with loan fee costs in the vocational education and training sector.
  • Revised indexation for the Commonwealth Grant Scheme to reflect the Consumer Price Index.

To support universities and students transitioning to the new arrangements, the Government will guarantee university funding at current levels for three years from 2021 and will put in place grandfathering arrangements for current students studying courses where student contributions will increase from 2021.

This measure also includes $12.5 million over three years from 2020‑21 to establish a new Special Research Initiative grant scheme under the Australian Research Council’s National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) for research into Australia’s distinct history, society and culture, providing between $20,000 and $100,000 each year to about 40 projects for up to three years. This initiative will be offset by redirecting existing 2019‑20 funding allocated to the NCGP.

This measure complements the Higher Education Reform — additional support for regional Australia; Higher Education – Additional Support; and Research Package measures.

Skills and Training

The COVID‑19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Australia’s economy and on the workforce in all states and territories, including in regional communities.

In the 2020‑21 Budget, the Government will introduce a 50 per cent wage subsidy for all businesses who take on new apprentices from 5 October 2020. The $1.2 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy will support 100,000 new apprentices and will apply for the period 5 October 2020 to 30 September 2021. This measure builds upon the Government’s $1 billion JobTrainer Fund and the $2.8 billion COVID‑19 Response Package - supporting apprentices and trainees measure published in the Economic and Fiscal Update July 2020.

The $1 billion JobTrainer Fund will be jointly established with states and territories, with the Australian Government to contribute $500 million to provide up to 340,700 Australians with access to free, or low fee, training places in areas of skills need.

The Government is also helping businesses keep apprentices and trainees employed through the $2.8 billion Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy, which is expected to support 90,000 employers to keep 180,000 apprentices and trainees in employment and training.

The Government will ensure continued support for students and job seekers through amendments to the delivery of existing skills and training programs in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, including extending the termination date of the Foundation Skills for Your Future Remote Community Pilot by 12 months to 30 June 2023 to support adult language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills training in remote communities.

The Government will invest a further $49.5 million over two years from 2020‑21 for up to an additional 14,485 places in the Skills for Education and Employment Program so that new job seekers have access to foundation level language, literacy and numeracy skills training, so that they can be competitive in the labour market.

The Government is providing $29.6 million for the National Careers Institute (NCI) to support the ongoing work of the NCI. The NCI will provide people with access to authoritative and accurate careers information to enable them to actively manage their career pathways irrespective of their age or career stage. The NCI will also promote partnerships between industry and education and training providers through activities such as its Partnerships Grant Program.

The Government has also provided additional support to the NCI to deliver dedicated advice to school leavers about the training and employment options that suit their interests and prepares them for the jobs of the future.

Supporting Job Seekers and Employers

The Australian Government is committed to supporting job seekers and employers to help people find and keep a job, create their own job, change jobs, reskill and enjoy fulfilling careers. This forms an essential element of the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and social and economic recovery. Measures benefiting regional communities include:

Local Jobs Program

In the 2020‑21 Budget, the Government is providing funding of $62.8 million to 30 June 2022, for the Local Jobs Program, which will be rolled out in 25 regions across Australia, including in regional areas. The program will focus on reskilling, upskilling and employment pathways to assist people back into the workforce as the economy recovers. The Local Jobs Program puts in place local Employment Facilitators, creates Local Jobs and Skills Taskforces and provides Local Recovery Funds to support small scale projects in the 25 regions.

Supporting Stronger Employment Outcomes

The Government is also providing funding in the 2020‑21 Budget for a range of measures to support stronger employment outcomes, including in regional Australia.

The Government will provide funding to support Australia’s transition to a New Employment Services Model from July 2022. The Government will provide $295.9 million over four years to develop and implement the digital platform to support the New Employment Services Model.

The new model will allow most job-ready job seekers to manage their job search requirements online and allow more resources to be directed to providing personal, tailored help to disadvantaged Australians who need access to crucial skills and training to break into the workforce. Regional employers will benefit from the digital platform that will streamline recruitment and decrease the time to fill vacancies by delivering better connections to job seekers and support improved matching, pre‑screening and validation of job applications.

The Government is also investing $183.1 million over three years from July 2020 to fast-track and expand the current Online Employment Service platform to ensure job-ready job seekers can gain access to the information and support they need to secure their own way back into work.

Further support will be delivered through the introduction of a more flexible approach to counting study and training courses of less than 12 months toward meeting mutual obligation requirements. Eligible courses will be in identified areas of skills needs and will include subsidised training in the Vocational Education and Training system, and courses delivered under the $1 billion JobTrainer Fund as they become available.

Supporting Young Job Seekers

To support young people to connect with employment and skills opportunities, $21.9 million will support initiatives over two years from early 2021 to connect more young Australians to youth specialist employment services and targeted assistance. This includes:

  • reducing the waiting period for early school leavers who are not in receipt of income support to gain access to the youth specialist Transition to Work service from 1 January 2021
  • providing young people receiving online employment services up to three advisory sessions with a Transition to Work provider
  • developing and delivering online learning modules to young people to help them develop job-ready skills and succeed in the labour market.

Support for relocation and for Seasonal Workers

The Government is providing funding to support people to relocate for ongoing work or to relocate to a regional area to take up agricultural work, and is supporting the welfare of Pacific and Timor-Leste workers:

  • $9 million to support the Seasonal Worker Programme over three years from 2020‑21, ensuring the welfare of Pacific and Timor-Leste workers is protected and that Australian farmers have access to the workforce they need.
  • $17.4 million over two years from 2020‑21 to assist individuals to relocate for employment opportunities, by funding modifications to the existing Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job program to make it available to individuals who temporarily relocate to a regional area to take up short-term agricultural work of at least six weeks’ duration (of at least 120 hours). Modifications will also include temporarily removing the waiting period to provide all job seekers in employment services access to assistance to relocate to take up full‑time ongoing employment in any industry.

Further Support Measures

Other measures to support stronger regional employment outcomes include:

  • A further $3.9 million in 2021-22 to extend the Time to Work Employment Service by a further 12 months to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners to gain access to the support they need to better prepare them to find employment and reintegrate into the community upon their release from prison.
  • $24.7 million over four years from 2020-21 to streamline the successful ParentsNext program to better support parents to plan and prepare for a return to employment by the time their youngest child reaches school age.
  • $35.8 million injection to the Employment Fund in 2021–22 to ensure all new job seekers continue to attract higher Employment Fund credits, as has been the case since July 2020.
  • $5.7 million to assist more job seekers to start their own business, including in regional areas, the New Business Assistance with New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) program eligibility is being expanded to individuals undertaking part-time work, study and/or with caring responsibilities. Changes will also allow existing micro-businesses impacted by COVID‑19 to receive assistance to refocus their business to meet new areas of demand or to keep their business running.

These measures build upon $159.5 million provided over three years from 2019‑20, announced earlier in 2020 in the Government’s COVID‑19 Response, to support job seekers affected by the pandemic, including:

  • $115.1 million to ensure job seekers get the support they need and can be connected to employment services at the earliest opportunity.
  • $41.7 million to the Career Transition Assistance program to enable JobActive providers to more readily refer mature-age job seekers to the program.
  • $2.7 million to extend Regional Employment Trials by a further 12 months to 30 June 2021 to ensure approved projects continue in the selected regional areas.

Investing in Regional Australia – additional Regional University Centres

The Australian Government will provide $15 million over four years from 2019‑20 to support higher education in regional Australia by establishing a further five Regional University Centres (formerly known as Regional Study Hubs). The additional funding will increase the number of Regional University Centres from 16 to 21 to provide more opportunities for students to undertake higher education while remaining in their local communities.

This measure was announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO and builds on the 2018‑19 MYEFO measure titled Strengthening Higher Education in Regional Australia — additional support for students and universities.

New Central Queensland School of Mines and Manufacturing – Gladstone and Rockhampton

The Australian Government will provide $30 million over three years from 2020‑21 to the new School of Mines and Manufacturing at Central Queensland University. The new school will provide training in traditional trades and emerging technologies to support Australia's growing resources sector. Construction of the school is expected to create more than 300 jobs, directly benefiting the Gladstone and Rockhampton regions. This measure was announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO.

Rural Inspire Initiative

The Australian Government will provide $2 million over three years from 2019‑20 to the Country Education Partnership's Rural Inspire Initiative to support young people living in rural communities to set its sights high and achieve its goals by developing leadership skills and knowledge. The initiative also aims to explore education challenges and opportunities facing rural youth and was announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO.

Teach for Australia Future Leaders Program – additional funding

The Australian Government will provide an additional $15 million over three years from 2019‑20 to support more high achieving teachers to become high-quality school leaders in rural, remote and disadvantaged schools.

This measure was announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO and builds on the 2018‑19 Budget measure titled High Achieving Teachers Program.

Flexible Literacy for Remote Primary Schools Program – extension

The Australian Government will provide $1.8 million over two years from 2019‑20 to extend the Flexible Literacy for Remote Primary Schools Program pilot into the 2020 school year to help improve literacy outcomes by continuing to trial flexible teaching methods.

This measure will be offset by redirecting funding from the National Schools Reform Fund, which was part of the 2017‑18 Budget measure titled Quality Schools — true needs‑based funding for Australia's schools.

This measure was announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO and builds on the 2018‑19 MYEFO measure titled School Funding — additional support for students.

General Sir John Monash Foundation

Announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO, the Australian Government provided $10 million in 2019‑20 to the General Sir John Monash Foundation to establish the Bob Hawke John Monash Scholarship and the Tim Fischer John Monash Scholarship programs. Scholarships will be provided from 2020 for postgraduate scholars to study at a leading international university. The Tim Fischer Scholarship will be offered to scholars from regional or rural backgrounds.

Higher Education Loan Program – encouraging Early Childhood Teachers to work in very remote areas

The Australian Government will provide $2.4 million over four years from 2019‑20 to extend the removal of Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt for teachers working in very remote locations of Australia to include early childhood teachers. From 2019, HELP debts for early childhood teachers will be extinguished after four years of employment in very remote locations of Australia. Additionally, indexation on HELP debt will no longer accrue for early childhood teachers while working in these locations.

This measure was announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO and builds on the 2019‑20 Budget measure titled Closing the Gap refresh — Indigenous Youth Education Package to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have access to quality education.

Pilot Programs to Enhance Collaboration between Universities and Industry

Announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO, the Australian Government will provide funding over two years from 2019‑20 to bring together universities and industry to partner on innovative projects. Projects benefiting regional cities include:

  • $2 million to the University of Wollongong to establish an Industry 4.0 Hub in Nowra to drive productivity and growth in areas of agribusiness and manufacturing in the Shoalhaven area.
  • $2 million to Deakin University to establish a hydrogen fuel cell and supply chain pilot program in the city of Warrnambool.

Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy Trial – expansion

Announced in the 2019‑20 MYEFO, the Australian Government will provide $60 million over four years from 2019‑20 to expand the successful Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy Trial to provide additional support for small businesses across rural and regional Australia.

The expansion will benefit up to an additional 1,630 new apprentices undertaking full‑time apprenticeships at the Certificate III and IV levels in rural and regional areas, and in areas of skills needs as identified by the National Skills Needs List.

National Bushfire Recovery Fund (Cross Portfolio)

The Australian Government committed $2 billion to a National Bushfire Recovery Fund (NBRF) to assist communities and businesses to recover and rebuild following the 2019‑20 bushfires. The NBRF is in addition to funding provided through existing disaster recovery assistance arrangements. This includes specific measures for this Portfolio:

Bushfire Response Package – Assisting families by exempting them from the Child Care Subsidy activity test debt for 2019‑20

The families of more than 90,000 children in bushfire-declared local government areas (LGAs) will be exempt from Child Care Subsidy activity test debt for the 2019‑20 financial year.

Families can still claim the Child Care Subsidy even if their work, study or volunteering hours have been impacted by the bushfires.

Bushfire Response Package – Mental Health Support for School Communities and early childhood services

The Government is providing an additional $8 million for mental health support through Beyond Blue to fund an extra 25 Beyond Blue liaison officers and supporting clinicians to work with local schools and early childhood services in bushfire-affected communities. The Government also offered extra funding, available to state and territory governments on request, for school chaplains.

Bushfire Response Package – Back to school support payment

The Government provided a range of measures to support bushfire affected communities, including an additional $400 (a total of $800) for each child who qualified under the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment, to help families with education expenses.

Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan – further support for farmers and communities in drought (Agriculture, Water and the Environment)

The Australian Government provided an additional $10 million in 2019‑20 for Special Circumstances funding for eligible drought-affected schools experiencing financial difficulties, to help ensure the viability of these schools, increasing the total support in 2019‑20 to $20 million.