Federal, state and territory governments spent $71.5 billion on early childhood, school, vocational and higher education in that year, a new report says.
The 2012 annual Report on Government Services, released today, says more than half the governments' education spending went on schools, and about a quarter went to universities.
In March 2010, almost a million children aged under 12 were enrolled in childcare services funded by the federal government.
Another 117,615 attended state and territory-funded child care, and 224,699 were in preschools funded by state and territory governments.
The report, commissioned by the Council of Australian Governments, also looked at how ready young children were to start school because "children entering school with basic skills for life and learning are more likely to have a successful transition to primary school".
Nationally, 77.1% were "developmentally on track" with language and cognitive skills in 2009.
More than 80% of youngsters in NSW, Victoria, SA and the ACT were deemed ready to start formal education, compared with only about 60% of their peers in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The report found about half of children aged three to eight were read to or told stories at home every day, but about 4% were not read to at all.
Of the 3.5 million children enrolled at primary and secondary schools across the country in 2010, almost seven in 10 primary students and six in 10 secondary students were in the public system.
There were 1.8 million students enrolled in vocational education and training (VET) courses, with three-quarters in government-funded programs.
Australia's universities had 1.2 million domestic and international students - an increase of 5.1% from 2009 - two-thirds of them studying for bachelor degrees.