Abbott Government resurrects misguided chaplains program while denying students with disability the resources they need

27 August 2014

The Abbott Government’s decision to keep funding its School Chaplaincy program, despite its High Court defeat, shows it has got its priorities wrong on schools funding, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said that the Chaplaincy program was a misuse of funding that could be spent on more urgent needs, such as support for students with disability.

“The Chaplaincy Program is a case of the Government’s wrong priorities. They are unable to deliver a promised increased disability loading from 2015 to support students in urgent need, yet they are able to find $243.8 million to spend on chaplains.

“Handing over funding of the program to the States and Territories changes nothing. The Abbott Government would prefer to maintain its Chaplaincy Program than deliver on its election promise to students with disability.

"We have 100,000 students with disabilities not receiving the support they need. This has to be treated as a higher priority than chaplains.

“The Abbott Government has also abandoned the More Support for Students with Disabilities National Partnerships which come to an end this year. Failing to continue this program will cut $100 million a year of funding for students with disabilities.

“The Abbott Government remains intent on ripping billions out of schools by not honouring the 5th and 6th years of the Gonski agreements, ensuring that up to 20 per cent of schools will not meet minimum resource standards.

Apart from the missed opportunity to allocate this funding where it is most needed, the continuation of this misguided program will continue to undermine the secular traditions of public education.

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291