Academic achievement has not improved in line with increased public funding poured into the Australian education system, new analysis from the Centre for Independent Studies suggests.
Glenn Fahey, a research fellow at the libertarian think tank, said the Gonski reforms had focused on increasing resources in schools based on needs without linking funding to education outcomes.
His study shows that the average public funding per student in Australia in 2018 was just under $16,000, which represents a 17 per cent real increase from 2009.
However Australia's international performance in PISA testing has been declining and NAPLAN results have remained steady.
An analysis of school level data from primary government schools across Australia showed the best predictors of student achievement in year 5 NAPLAN tests were past achievement in the year 3 test and their socio-educational background.
The school attendance rate and the level of funding voluntarily paid by parents were also statistically significant.
"We've asked school funding to essentially do all of the education policy heavy lifting and we know ultimately that's just detracting us from really addressing where the differences lie and that's differences in the standard of education," Mr Fahey said.
The report suggests school funding could be more efficient if it was provided directly to households and contributions were means-tested for public and private school parents.
Mr Fahey said the relatively high starting salary for teachers in Australia attracted plenty of people to the field but that our country had a problem with retaining good teachers in the long term.
"We record some of the worst results in terms of performance management across other similar countries so a lot of teachers don't get meaningful feedback around performance."
The report recommends teachers should be rewarded for good performance and that more flexible recruitment and pay is needed to attract high-achievers.