Catholic Education Commission of Victoria executive director Jim Miles said the Victorian Government payroll tax on non-government schools will rip up to $1 million from the operating budgets of moderate fee schools.
Mr Miles said the Andrews Government yesterday confirmed that a fee threshold of slightly above $8000 will be used to target non-government schools for the new tax.
“Many of the schools being targeted by the government are not wealthy, elite schools. They are schools with hardworking, middle-class families who now face fee increases or cuts in programs,” Mr Miles said.
“How can you tell a not-for-profit organisation like a Catholic school that they will be up to $1 million worse off each year and not expect significant consequences.”
Rita Grima, principal of St Columba’s College, Essendon, which charges annual tuition fees of between $10,000 and $11,000, said the school could be up for a bill of around $800,000 next year.
“This is money we obviously have not budgeted for. We would need to look at our staffing and programs, our refurbishment plans, and school fees to fill the budget gap,” Ms Grima said.
“We have families from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Why should our families be asked to help balance the state budget? They already work hard to contribute a significant amount of money to their children’s education, saving the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars.”
Mr Miles said the new payroll tax equates to an unprecedented 10 per cent cut to government funding for non-government schools, based on forecast tax revenues.
“Arguments that this policy change makes non-government schools consistent with government schools do not make any sense. To make it truly consistent, non-government schools would pay the tax to themselves – just like the government sector.”