Federal Court upholds decision to revoke funding from Malek Fahd Islamic School

Media Release
  • Minister for Education and Training

The Federal Court has dismissed the appeal brought by Malek Fahd Islamic School Limited in respect of the decision to revoke the authority’s approval to receive funding under the Australian Education Act 2013.

The Turnbull Government does not and will not tolerate the misuse of taxpayer funding for schools.

All school authorities must meet the requirements of the Education Act and ensure that our taxpayer dollars and any private investment by parents is being spent to benefit Australian students.

I have contacted the NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes and our departments will work together to support the school’s students, families and staff.

I urge Malek Fahd’s management to clearly outline their plans to give their school community certainty for the future.

Timeline:
 
In May 2015 my department initiated a formal review into six school authorities affiliated with the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) following ongoing concerns about their independence, financial management and governance arrangements.
 
As a result of this review, on 13 November 2015, my department issued a Notice of proposed decision to each of the six school authorities as required under Commonwealth legislation. These notices detailed the department’s concerns about their independence, financial management and governance arrangements and invited each authority to ‘show cause’ why its approval to receive Federal Government funding should not be revoked.
 
After carefully considering the responses received from Malek Fahd Islamic School Limited my department made the difficult decision to revoke the funding approval for the authority.
 
Malek Fahd Islamic School Limited requested an internal review of the decision made to revoke funding for the school. The Internal Reviewer, who was independent of the original decision, considered the new information provided by the authority and based on all the available evidence also came to the decision the authority remained non-compliant with the requirements of the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act). 
 
On 28 April 2016 the Administrative Appeals Tribunal put on hold the Department of Education and Training’s decision to revoke the approval of Malek Fahd Islamic School Limited to receive Australian Government funding, pending its full hearing on the matter.

In a decision dated 23 December 2016 the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, following hearings and submissions from the parties, affirmed the decision of the Department to revoke funding to Malek Fahd Islamic School Limited.

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