Greek Orthodox schools in Victoria exempt from government’s payroll tax change

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The Victorian government has backtracked on an election plan to hit hundreds of independent schools with payroll tax.

The top 60 private schools in Victoria will still lose their exemption to payroll tax, with only schools with annual fees of $15,000 or more set to pay the tax from July 1, 2024.

This decision comes after May’s state budget outlined a three-year $422-million plan to remove the payroll exemption for 110 schools with fees of more than $7,500.

The proposal was hit with widespread backlash, especially from lower fee independent Greek Orthodox schools such Oakleigh Grammar and St John’s College Preston.

Fees at Oakleigh Grammar start at around $9,000 for Prep students, and climb to more than $12,000 for Year 12 students. St John’s College Preston charges fees of $8,772 in years 11 and 12.

According to the SMH, St John’s College Preston has also been under review by the education regulator since last year due to fears the school is financially unviable. The school posted a $1.79 million loss in 2021 and a $1.07 million loss in 2020.

The Victorian Budget was handed down in May.

In a letter sent to Victorian Members of Parliament in late May, school leaders at Oakleigh Grammar and St Johns College Preston said the proposed payroll tax “would jeopardise in the worst case scenario, the ongoing viability of our schools.”

“At the very least, it would impact our schools’ current curricular and co-curricular offerings and negatively impact staffing levels to continue to deliver value-for-money high quality educational programs,” the school leaders said.

Now, the Victorian government’s backtrack means Oakleigh Grammar and St Johns College Preston are exempt from the payroll tax.

Oakleigh Grammar’s business manager Tim Grandy told ABC News this was “a big relief for our school community.”

“Our chairman will be able to sleep at night again,” he said.

Schools still subject to payroll tax includes some of Melbourne’s most elite including Scotch College, Xavier College and Methodist Ladies College.

Source: ABC News.

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