National LGBTIQA+ lobby group Just.Equal Australia has welcomed changes to the school chaplaincy program, but says the government has not gone far enough.
Education Minister, Jason Clare, today announced the $60 million program would be adjusted to allow schools to apply for funding for either a secular professional counsellor or religious chaplain.
The previous Coalition Government had limited the program to religious counsellors only, with no requirement for tertiary qualifications in counselling or psychology.
Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Brian Greig, said chaplains with no training to support LGBTIQA+ issues were a danger to students.
“A student who confides in a chaplain about their sexuality or gender identity cannot be assured of appropriate care if the chaplain has no training in such matters."
“It is also deeply worrying that many chaplains are sourced from religious organisations which may have a long history of opposing LGBTIQA+ equality and which have condemned homosexuality and trangender identity as wrong and sinful.”
Just.Equal called on the Minister to ensure all chaplains are trained in LGBTIQA+ issues, including referring students to professional resources and counselling.
“In the past, the Tasmanian Government has made money available for the training of chaplains in LGBTIQA+ issues, and the federal Government should replicate this across the nation", Mr Greig said.
The chaplaincy program has been in place since the Howard era. It has been a controversial program ever since.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Brian Greig on 0407 776 961.