The Coalition Government has backed school chaplains across Australia with hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding.

The Turnbull Government has announced its ongoing support of the National School Chaplaincy Programme, which provides vital pastoral care services to thousands of students and school communities across Australia.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP said the Coalition Government’s 2018-19 Budget extended the National School Chaplaincy Programme on a permanent basis and backed it with an extra $247 million.

“I know the valuable work school chaplains do in Barker and that’s why I lobbied the Minister to extend funding for this vital program,” Mr Pasin said.

“There are 88 schools across Barker and eight here in Mount Gambier, including Melaleuca Park Primary School, that will benefit from this funding boost so that chaplains can continue their vital role supporting the health and wellbeing of young people.

“I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact the National School Chaplaincy Program has here in Barker and the strong community support behind it. The Coalition Government’s plan to build a stronger economy means we can guarantee the essential services Australians rely on like the school chaplains programme.”

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the school chaplains program would also have a greater focus on bullying.

“A focus on bullying, specifically cyberbullying, will see school chaplains required to undertake training in this area to ensure they are fully equipped to deal with the challenges in the school community,” Minister Birmingham said.

“This funding will also mean school chaplains can continue to provide important pastoral care and run programs such as breakfast clubs and other volunteer activities within their school communities.

“Over the last year over 1000 schools and families have written, called and emailed me expressing their support for the programme and shared the stories of the work of school chaplains in their local communities.

“Ensuring that schools are supportive, inclusive and safe learning communities provides a strong foundation for students to reach their full potential in learning and in life and I know the important role the National School Chaplaincy Programme plays in promoting this,” The Minister said.