THE main provider of chaplains to Victorian state schools under a controversial federal government program is at risk of collapse, according to its most recent financial accounts.
Accounts filed by the organisation, Access Ministries, show it last year burned through $2.5 million in cash as it racked up a loss for the third year running.
However, chief executive Evonne Paddison said the organisation had this year staunched the outflow of cash and was now solvent.
Access Ministries received more than $21 million in federal grants under the school chaplaincy program between 2007 and 2011.
The Council for Christian Education, which trades as Access Ministries, also provides religious education and claims on its website to be ”sharing God’s love with over 200,000 young Victorians” every day.
It filed the accounts with the corporate regulator after The Age last week asked it why they were overdue.
Access Ministries’ ability to ”continue to pay its debts as they fall due” depends on ”a return to profitability in the 2012 financial year”, the organisation said in a note to the accounts.
In order to survive the organisation must also ”broaden income streams” and collect cash it is owed in a ”timely” manner, it said.
The accounts show Access Ministries struggled to collect debts, with the amount it was owed by customers ballooning almost tenfold, from $72,500 to $697,000.
They also show it was heavily dependent on the chaplaincy program, with federal grants and contributions from schools making up $8.7 million of the $12.3 million it reaped in revenue.
It made a loss of about $483,000 last year, adding to losses of $17,000 in 2010 and $248,000 in 2009.
In a statement provided through an external corporate public relations consultant, Dr Paddison, who has repeatedly declined requests for an interview, said the document ”does not represent the health of the organisation’s current financial position”.
”The organisation’s cash position has now returned to 2010 levels and all items in the note from the 2011 report including timely receipts of income and implementation of new strategies have occurred,” she said.
”Specifically, Access Ministries has received income from fund-raising, publishing sales and payments for chaplaincy services from the Commonwealth government. The organisation has no borrowings from any financial institution, is trading solvent and in a sound financial position.”
The school chaplaincy program was introduced by the Howard government in October 2006, and expanded by the Rudd and Gillard governments.
It was struck down as unconstitutional by the High Court in June, but rescued by legislation, itself controversial, rushed through Parliament days later.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.