Ray Collins, the acting Executive Director of the NCEC, is quoted in the commission’s media release as saying:
“Principals and parents have valued this program highly over the years since it was introduced by the Howard Government and the $61.4 million dollars for each of the next four years provides some certainty to schools that have chaplains/pastoral care workers supporting their schools, said Mr Collins.
“The focus on addressing bullying in schools is a valued component of the program and it is good to see the government recognising the importance of the school chaplaincy program in schools.
Ray Collins did have some criticism of the level of funding saying:
“However, with no indexation over the last three years of the program and the likelihood of more and more schools wanting to access this program, the funds allocated will probably prove to be inadequate.”
Director of Schools in the Maitland Newcastle Diocese Dr Michael Slattery supports the concept and continuation of the Chaplaincy Program but indicated that “without indexation, the rising costs associated with ensuring the future provision of the program will place considerable financial burden upon low fee paying schools like ours”.
The NCEC was established in 1974 by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference through the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education.
Its aim is to maintain effective liaison with the Commonwealth Government and other key national education bodies. NCEC complements and supports at the national level the work of the State and Territory Catholic Education Commissions.
It came into being partly in response to the vastly increased activity of the Commonwealth Government in school education policy and funding from the early 1970s, and partly to reflect the Bishops’ wish for a national Catholic education policy forum at which the recently-established State and Territory Catholic Education Commissions could contribute more effectively to the national schooling debate.