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The one programme that Joe Hockey can definitely abolish on Budget Night

May 13, 2014

The National Commission of Audit was set up by the Abbott government as a razor gang to outline where government spending could be cut under the justification of a “budget emergency.”

Among the many controversial recommendations by the National Commission of Audit there is one recommendation I wholeheartedly agree with.

That is that the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Programme should be abolished.

The National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) was announced in October 2006 by the Howard government. It provided $90 million of Commonwealth funding over three years for school chaplains which was subsequently increased to $165 million.

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The Rudd government continued the programme and the Gillard government announced in August 2010 that $222 million would be provided so that funding would be extended to the end of 2014.

In 2012, the High Court ruled the program was constitutionally invalid because it exceeded the Commonwealth’s spending powers under the constitution. In response the Parliament rushed through amendments to the Financial Management and Accountability Act and Financial Management and Accountability Regulations to provide legislative authority for the programme.

A further constitutional challenge to the programme was filed in the High Court in 2013 and is due to be heard in coming weeks.

Joe Hockey could save everyone time, money and effort and abolish the programme on Budget Night.

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