Budget spends up big on school chaplain program

Chaplain spending up

The pet program of former PM John Howard, ­installing chaplains in schools, will be extended for the next five years and revert to the original condition of only providing religious advisers, reports The Australian.

In the biggest school spending initiative in the schools budget, the government has allocated $245 million for school chaplains in about 2900 schools until the end of 2018.

Schools can apply for up to $20,000 a year, with remote schools eligible for an extra $4000 a year, with priority given to schools with the greatest need.

The Abbott government is reversing an expansion of the program under Labor to allow schools to appoint non-religious pastoral care people, and the new regulations require chaplains from recognised denominations.

The budget fails to outline any additional funding for students with disabilities, a major election commitment, with only $57.7m provided in 2014-15 and no funding outlined in the forward ­estimates.

FULL COVERAGE

Top spending outlay offers $245m for religious advisers in schools (The Australian)

Budget 2014: Funding for secular counsellors cut in school chaplaincy program (ABC)