Contrary to the claims of those opposite, the Turnbull government is delivering record Commonwealth investment in Australian schools. There are no cuts to school funding. Labor are well aware that there are no cuts to funding, but they continue their own special version of events. So let me say once again that there are no cuts to school funding. There are a few things that I'd like to put on the record again today. I know that I have previously put them on the record, but they do need to be said and said again so that those opposite understand exactly what is happening with school funding, which is that there are no cuts.
I believe the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, has done an outstanding job with school funding, as he has done with the entire education portfolio. The Quality Schools package is going to deliver an extra $25.3 billion in recurrent funding for Australian schools over the next 10 years from 2018 through to 2027. That's on top of the 2016-17 budget settings. This brings the total Commonwealth recurrent funding to $249.8 billion over the period 2018 to 2027. For the first time, real needs based funding is going to be provided, and that will grow from $17.5 billion in 2017 to $31.1 billion in 2027.
This government is providing record levels of funding, and we're doing that because we understand how important school education is to our young people. But also—and I have said this many times in this place—we see education as a highway from child care and preschool, through to schools and potentially into vocational education and higher education. It is a highway, a journey, that our young people undertake, and it's very important that we get school funding right. But it's also very important that we make sure that the money that is put into education funding is used appropriately and wisely. We know that each child in Australia deserves the support and opportunity to succeed. They deserve schools that are well and fairly funded and that encourage the highest academic standards. David Gonski has agreed to lead a new inquiry into improving the results of Australian students. The review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools will provide advice on how this extra Commonwealth funding should be used by Australian schools to improve student achievement and school performance. The review will make recommendations on the most effective teaching and learning strategies to reverse declining results and to seek to raise the performance of schools and students. David Gonski will be providing his report to government very soon.
There are two issues. One is funding, and there are probably some things that I'd like to add on that before I actually discuss a little bit more the reason why we have to make sure that we are giving students at school the opportunity to do well and succeed. I actually want to talk about the funding that is going to each of the sectors, but I'm going to clarify what appears to be some Labor confusion over the funding distribution across all sectors. Let me start by saying that states and territories are responsible for the overall quality of school education in their jurisdictions. States and territories are also the major funders of schools. While they provide the majority of funding to public schools, the Australian government is the majority funder of non-government schools. At the sector level, current government funding, both Commonwealth and state and territory, accounts for 94 per cent of funding for government schools, 73 per cent of funding for Catholic schools and 42 per cent of funding for independent schools.
In dollar figure terms for each of the sectors, the government sector will receive a total of $33.65 billion over the period 2018 to 2021, which is over $2 billion extra and growth of 27.6 per cent. Over the next decade, the government sector will receive a total of $104.5 billion, meaning an additional $5.9 billion, which is growth of 79.6 per cent. The Catholic sector will receive a total of $28.44 billion over the period 2018 to 2021, which is over $1 billion extra and growth of 15.1 per cent. Over the next decade, the Catholic sector will receive a total of $81.89 billion, meaning an additional $3.23 billion, which is growth of 48.8 per cent. The independent sector will receive a total of $21 billion over the period 2018 to 2021, which is over $1 billion extra and growth of 22.8 per cent.
Over the next decade, the independent sector will receive a total of $63.42 billion, meaning an additional $3.16 billion, which is growth of 66.9 per cent. So they are significant increases, and it's clear that there are no cuts to school funding.
I indicated previously that it is important not only that we get the funding right but also that how that funding is used is important, and it's important because we want to give our young people, our school students, every opportunity to succeed and do well, so that they are able to go on to life after school—whether that's going directly into employment or following a vocational education pathway or perhaps going on to university.
If we want to talk about funding cuts, when Labor was in government they ripped $1.2 billion out of vocational education, when they did multiple cuts to employer incentives over, effectively, a 12-month period. That crippled the sector—particularly in the non-trade areas, where we had a significant decline. In fact, the single biggest decline over a 12-month period was under the last 12 months of the Labor government. So it was a significant ripping of funding out of the vocational education sector.
We are now in a position where, because of that, we have a significant issue in the vocational education sector, where—if I use apprentices as an example—we cannot attract enough people into the sector to meet our current skill needs, let alone our future skill needs. The Turnbull government, in last year's budget, announced the $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund. It is designed to inject much-needed funds into the apprenticeship space. When I speak about apprenticeships, I'm talking about Australian apprenticeships, so it includes apprentices and trainees. We know that a lot of work needs to be done just to start to lift us up to the levels we were at back in 2012-13 because, in some areas, we know that we are going to be experiencing high growth. The disability sector, for example, and health and ageing are some priority areas for us where we know that we need to make sure that we have people who are properly skilled for the future. So the $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund will put a much-needed injection of funding in there and deal with the fact that we have a shortfall in apprentices. We're looking at, over a four-year period, supporting an additional 300,000 apprentices, at the pre-apprenticeship level, the apprenticeship level and the post-apprenticeship—the higher apprenticeship—level, and that is to make sure that we will be meeting our trades and non-trades needs and our trainee needs into the future.
That is only a small snapshot of some of the work that needs to be done in vocational education, but some of that work is so needed because of the damage that the Labor Party did to vocational education when it was last in government. So the coalition government has put a lot of time, effort and resources into making sure that we look at the education system as a whole and, as I indicated previously, the work that Senator Birmingham has done, I believe, has been truly outstanding. He has looked at education as a whole. He has done a lot of work in the school space in particular. The announcements that he has made will address the funding issues—will get rid of the 27 deals that Labor put in place that distorted the funding to the various sectors of school education. He has dealt with that. He has come up with a proposal. He has engaged with David Gonski to make sure that the funding that has been put in is going to be well used into the future.