A move to provide additional funding for chaplaincy in schools is being considered by the Queensland government.The Courier-Mail recently reported
that the move would give independent public school principals the ability to increase the hours of chaplains and other staff including guidance counsellors and psychologists.
Currently, the Queensland government provides up to $11,000 a year for school chaplains in addition to federal government funding of the chaplaincy program.
The move has come out of a discussion between Scripture Union’s Queensland (SU QLD) CEO Peter James and John-Paul Langbroek’s advisor in regards to additional funds being required around occasions of natural disaster and tragedy in school communities.
SU, which employs most chaplains in state schools, said it’s found additional support from school chaplains is vital around these times and previously there had been no allowance for this.
In recent months, SU QLD has been called to appear before the High Court to defend its national school chaplaincy program.
It first appeared in the High Court two years ago when a Toowoomba resident claimed the chaplaincy program violated religious freedom under the Constitution. The High Court found it did not violate religious freedom as chaplains were not employed or appointed by the government.
A second challenge to the Court’s decision was launched against the program this year.
In response, SU QLD asked Australians to sign a statement of support in favour of federal funding for school chaplaincy by visiting backourchappies.com.au.
Last month, ACL’s Communications Director Katherine Spackman interviewed SU QLD’s CEO Peter James on the Political Spot where he spoke about the second High Court challenge. You can listen to the interview by following this link.