The Australian Government has welcomed the commitments from Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory to deliver the National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP).
These commitments will ensure that students in these States and Territory will, from 1 January 2015, have access to important and valued support services delivered by the chaplaincy programme.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Senator the Hon Scott Ryan, said he is keen to finalise agreements with these governments but is concerned about students in remaining jurisdictions.
“Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have seen the merit in the chaplaincy programme and agreed to administer it to provide support for the pastoral care of teachers, students and school communities,” Senator Ryan said.
“I look forward to welcoming other States and Territories into the programme in the near future.”
State and Territory Education Ministers who have not yet agreed in-principle to participate in the NSCP have until October 3 to confirm their participation. This timing is important to allow sufficient time for school selection and chaplains to be in place for the 2015 school year.
“This programme has the overwhelming support of students, parents and schools. It would be a significant disappointment if the NSCP was not available to all students across the country,” said Senator Ryan.
Following the June ruling by the High Court of Australia that payments made under the previous government’s National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program were invalid, the Commonwealth Government designed the new National School Chaplaincy Programme so that funding is delivered via States and Territories, rather than directly to schools.