Figures released today show around 200 schools across the country have chosen to hire people other than chaplains since the federal government gave them the choice in September 2011, the Australian Greens said.
"We applaud the fact that Australian schools are exercising their right to choose whether or not they want a chaplain or someone from a secular background," Greens' youth affairs spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.
"The Greens' policy has for many years been that schools must be allowed to choose who they want to counsel students, and for minimum training standards to be set. It was never acceptable for schools to only have chaplains counselling students because there was never any minimum qualification, only that they be from a Christian background.
"We're seeing now that 8 percent of more than 2,500 schools have decided they don't want a chaplain but have opted for a student welfare worker. We expect this figure will change ahead of the March 2 deadline set by the federal Education Department.
"The Greens will continue to monitor developments and ensure schools have a choice."