Oz Govt. gives 70-mn dollars to schools run by 'extremist cult'

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Melbourne, Jan 12 (ANI): The Australian Government has given more than 70 million dollars to schools run by the Exclusive Brethren, a religious sect Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described as an "extremist cult" that breaks up families.

The sect's schools have secured more than 8.4 million dollars under the Government's school building stimulus package and they will share in 62 million dollars in recurrent taxpayer funding.

Documents show a Brethren-run school at Swan Hill in northern Victoria was granted 1.2 million dollars for a library and 800,000 dollars for a hall when its most recent annual report shows it had just 16 pupils and already had a library.

Grants data released by the commonwealth shows that the Brethren schools in every state received funding under the 12.4 billion dollars schools stimulus package, The Australian reports.

Despite the Brethren's past disdain for computers, figures show its schools have received more than 300 under the commonwealth computers-in-school initiative.

Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said these sums were outrageous and the funding system had to be urgently replaced.

"How can the Government justify handing tens of millions of dollars to an organisation it believes is a cult while public schools which educate the vast majority of our children are struggling for funds?" Gavrielatos said.

The Brethren is a fundamentalist Christian sect that lives by the doctrine of separation from mainstream society. (ANI)

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