Parliament passes legislation to secure chaplaincy program
- Minister for School Education
- Minister for Early Childhood and Youth
- Minister for Finance and Deregulation
- Attorney-General Minister for Emergency Management
The Gillard Government welcomes the passage through the Parliament last night of critical legislation to secure the future of Government programs, including the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program (NSCSWP).
This follows last week’s decision of the High Court in Williams v Commonwealth.
The Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2012 provides a legislative basis for the funding of a range of Government programs, including the NSCSWP, which provides support to more than 3,500 schools across Australia.
Other programs include veterans’ payments, primary health care, jobs programs and support for carers.
The Government is committed to our programs and to continuing to fund them, and thanks the Parliament for allowing the legislation to move quickly through the Parliament.
The Government acted swiftly and decisively to protect the school chaplains and student welfare scheme because we know how important it is to schools, students and parents.
Governments on both sides have long relied on a broad view of the Commonwealth’s executive authority to spend Commonwealth funds.
However, a majority of Justices decided that certain Commonwealth expenditure must be authorised by legislation and not solely through the Appropriations Acts. This requirement does not apply to some areas of expenditure such as grants to the States, most payments to individuals, and payments for the ordinary services and running of Government.
In addition to the over 400 programs identified in the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2012, regulations will be able to be made to provide a legislative basis for new programs.
Now that Royal Assent has been provided to the legislation, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations can begin making payments to providers over the next 24 hours.
This means that the chaplains and welfare workers already in schools can continue their work uninterrupted, and service providers will have certainty about future funding for the scheme.