For immediate release – 27 June 2014
On June 19 the High Court of Australia ruled that federal government laws permitting the funding of the National School Chaplaincy Program were unconstitutional. The Court found that chaplaincy services did not fall under the Commonwealth’s power to make laws that provide “benefit to students.”
Within hours of the decision being handed down, Prime Minister Tony Abbott reiterated his support for the chaplaincy program, and the government is confident that the program will continue to be funded via conditional grants to State governments.
“There is overwhelming community support for continued federal government funding of school chaplaincy, as well as strong support from school principals and teachers around the country who see the value added by school chaplains to the school community every day,” the President of the NSW Council of Churches, the Reverend Dr Ross Clifford, said today.
“What we would like to see is the federal and state governments working together to ensure the continuation and funding of the excellent National Schools Chaplaincy Program in its current form, for the benefit of students in all 2,900 state schools across Australia,” he said.
Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678