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Gillard Government committed to keeping chaplains in schools

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Minister for School Education

Peter Garrett

Gillard Government committed to keeping chaplains in schools

Thursday 21 June 2012 Media Release

School Education Minister Peter Garrett today called on the Opposition to work with the Government to ensure the School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program will continue in Australian schools.

“We made it very clear yesterday that we are committed to maintaining funding for the chaplains program and are considering our next steps following the High Court’s decision,” he said.

“Chaplains and welfare workers currently in schools will remain in place, and the money we have already provided will remain with schools. We are working to resolve the issue and provide certainty to chaplain providers and schools as soon as possible.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that instead of working with us in a bi-partisan manner Christopher Pyne has again chosen to play politics with this issue and is running yet another scare campaign.

“The claims made by Christopher Pyne that we are seeking to in any way reduce our support for school chaplains and welfare workers are just plain wrong. We’ve made that clear time and time again.

“Tony Abbott needs to pull his team into line on this issue and publicly confirm they will support the Government on this.

“The Gillard Government has always supported the program because we know that schools and students value the work of chaplains and welfare workers.

“That’s why we extended the scheme for a further three years and have rolled it out to an extra 1000 schools across the country.

“If Tony Abbott’s Opposition really cared about the school chaplains scheme they would offer to work with us on a solution rather than irresponsibly misleading schools, students, chaplain and welfare providers, and parents.”

Mr Garrett said the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is contacting scheme providers to advise of the High Court’s ruling and will continue to update schools and chaplaincy providers in the coming days.

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