Malek Fahd Islamic School to remain open after judge orders Government to restore funds

Are we governed by an unaccountable judiciary or by an irresponsible government?

Dr John Bennett, chairman of the board of Malek Fahd Islamic School.
Dr John Bennett, chairman of the board of Malek Fahd Islamic School.
Malek Fahd Islamic School to remain open after judge orders Government to restore funds

AUSTRALIA’S largest Islamic school will remain open after a Federal Court judge ordered the Federal Government to no longer withhold funding.

Malek Fahd Islamic School, which has about 2400 students and 250 teachers spread over three campuses at Greenacre, Hoxton Park and Beaumont Hills, was in danger of closing after the Federal Government told the school in April it would stop making monthly payments citing concerns over its governance, restructuring, and transparency.

Malek Fahd Islamic School on Waterloo Rd, Greenacre.

Judge John Edward Griffiths today ordered the month-by-month funding be restored and back-paid to April.

This means the school will receive about $6.5 million as a result of today’s court ruling.

Update:

The islamically correct ABC waters it down, as usual:

The school received monthly payments of $1.6 million in January, February and March, but money was halted in April due to concerns about rent being paid to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils which used to run the school.

The school’s new board, led by chairman Dr John Bennett, had sought an order from the Federal Court to suspend the Government’s decision to delay funding for the school.

Funding will be restored to Malek Fahd Islamic School.

A federal Department of Education spokesperson said the court’s decision today related to current payments to Malek Fahd Islamic School but did affect the department’s decision of February 8 to revoke the approval of the authority responsible for the school.

The spokesperson said the Administrative Appeals Tribunal affirmed the department’s decision to revoke the authority’s approval and this matter was heard by the Federal Court on May 17, with an outcome still pending.

“Approved authorities have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with the requirements that need to be met in order to receive funding under the Education Act,” the spokesperson said.

“MFISL (Malek Fahd Islamic School Limited) is also a registered company under the Corporations Act, meaning board members also have responsibilities as company directors.”

MFISL was responsible for ensuring compliance with school funding legislation and any additional requirements imposed on the authority by the department, including unresolved issues involving past boards.

The spokesperson said the department considered that the authority for Malek Fahd Islamic School remained non-compliant with the Australian Education Act 2013 and had defended the February 8 decision accordingly.

The court required MFISL to spend any money provided under the court order in accordance with the Australian Education Act 2013 and not for the purposes of legal fees or lease or loan arrangements

Ahead of the court ruling Dr Bennett had said if the funding was restored, the board was committed to working with the department to resolve any remaining concerns it had about the school’s compliance.

Malek Fahd Islamic School has had the threat of closure hanging over it for more than a year after the Federal Government withheld $19 million of funding.

Since then the school has cut its ties with AFIC and has installed a new board, led by Dr Bennett.