On 19 June 2014, the High Court of Australia found the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program to be invalid.
Following the High Court’s decision, the Commonwealth no longer has capacity to administer or control the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program.
It may be that services continue to be provided at particular schools – whether that is the case will be a matter for the individual schools and the providers of chaplaincy and student welfare services to determine.
The Commonwealth has decided to waive its right to recover payments that have already been made under the program funding agreements. In reaching this decision, the Commonwealth has given careful consideration to the range of factors that are relevant to the exercise of its power to waive debts owing to it.
The Department of Education will provide further information to schools, funding recipients and education authorities on the decision and its impact on the specific circumstances relating to each provider following further analysis of the decision.
What does the High Court decision mean for the new National School Chaplaincy Program?
As part of the 2014-15 Federal Budget, the Australian Government allocated $243.8 million over four years to fund the National School Chaplaincy Programme.
Implications of the High Court decision on the future of the programme are being considered.