Report 18: 2016–17
Report type

Queensland's universities and schools face a continual challenge to shape their business and position themselves to remain sustainable. These challenges impact on the education sector's financial performance, sustainability, and current financial position.

This report summarises the results of our financial audits of the seven Queensland public universities and their controlled entities, the eight Queensland grammar schools, and a small number of other education-specific entities with a financial year end of 31 December. It provides an overview of their finances at 31 December 2016 and of the financial accounting issues that arose during the audits.

This year we also report on cost management practices operating at the seven universities, and on important income and cost drivers across the university and grammar school sectors.


We recommend that Ipswich Grammar School and Rockhampton Girls Grammar School:


reassess their revenue and expenditure policies and implement strategies to achieve operating surpluses as soon as possible.

We recommend that the universities: 


adopt or improve existing cost management frameworks to better support their individual cost management strategies.

These should be able to report, for example, by

  • revenue and funding source
  • direct and indirect costs
  • activity
  • student and staff. 


closely manage non-academic expenditure and set relevant targets based on national benchmarks.