Labor wants secular school welfare funding

Opposition Leader Shorten

Labor will oppose any Federal Government attempt to continue the school chaplaincy program unless it includes funding for secular welfare workers, WA Today reports.

Yesterday, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused the Government of 'micromanaging' schools by denying them choice.

When asked if Labor would support a program which funded only faith-based workers, he said: 'Labor certainly does not support restricting chaplains to just religious organisations.

'We think this is taking the education system down the wrong track.

'This is a Government which on the one hand says that billions of dollars of cuts to schools is nothing to do with them, so they're happy to take out the funding, which is the equivalent of one in every seven teachers, or $3 million from every school. But when it comes to school chaplains, this government is micromanaging the conduct and welfare in every school in Australia.

'This government is making the wrong choices and priorities.

'You're better off funding schools properly, making sure our kids get the right start in life and our teachers are backed up, rather than having some debate about school chaplains.'

The Victorian Opposition said it would push for the chaplaincy program to include non-religious welfare workers if Labor won the November State election.

'If we have to have a fight with the Commonwealth over that, we will fight with the Commonwealth over that,' opposition education spokesman James Merlino said.

The ACT and South Australian Education Ministers also backed schools being given the option of a secular welfare worker.

FULL COVERAGE

Labor to oppose school chaplaincy funding without secular option (WA Today)

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