New Government documents have revealed that qualified and trusted welfare officers in four schools in Scullin, and 620 schools across Australia, are facing the sack as a result of the Abbott Government’s decision to only fund religious chaplains.
The Federal Government is now giving the money to states and territories to administer, but on the condition it is used to only fund religious chaplains.
‘It should be up to school principals and communities to decide what support is best for their students – not Christopher Pyne,’ said Andrew Giles MP.
‘These qualified welfare officers who already have trusted relationships in our schools, and the students they support, will be the ones paying the price for this radical move to impose ideology on school communities.
‘The only thing these dedicated, qualified and professional counsellors have done to deserve the sack is not have formal links to a religious institution.
‘It is entirely unjustifiable for the Abbott Government to disempower local school communities who know best what supports are needed for their students.
‘The Government also needs to detail how safeguards will be put in place, so we don’t see a return to the high levels of complaints we saw under the religious-only chaplains program set up by the Howard Government.’
Labor previously expanded the program so school communities had the choice of hiring a qualified welfare officer or counsellor.
Schools in Scullin with welfare officers:
- Baltara School Thomastown Campus
- Marymede Catholic College
- Mill Park Heights Primary School
- Thomastown West Primary School