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Federal cash for Little Pebble cult school

A cult led by self-proclaimed prophet William (aka 'The Little Pebble') Kamm has secured $332,000 from the Howard Government to run a private school since 1996.

The Australian reports that Mr Kamm's Order of St Charbel recently secured a $75,000 federal grant for capital works at its St Joseph's School in Cambewarra, near Nowra, on the NSW south coast.

According to the paper, Kamm, who has been excommunicated by the Vatican, predicted a tsunami would devastate Australia's east cost and believes his Order will survive the coming apocalypse after he is appointed as the last pope.

NSW Education Minister Andrew Refshauge confirmed yesterday that child protection authorities would be asked to review St Joseph's registration.

However, Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson said he was powerless to review funding for the religious order because the school was accredited by NSW.

The Howard Government had granted the school $332,000 in federal funding and plans to increase the grants from $3527 per student next year, rising by an extra $1107 by 2008.

Federal Opposition education spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said: "The Howard Government likes to talk about accountability but refuses to take responsibility for which schools it funds."

Funding for the Order of St Charbel school has raised concern in Catholic circles, amid fears followers are building bunkers in preparation to form a "Papal guard" to protect Little Pebble.

Following inquiries by The Australian, the NSW Board of Studies confirmed yesterday that child protection agencies would be contacted to review the school's registration following recent changes to the legislation and inspections last year that granted an extension of St Joseph's licence.

"I want to be assured that all students at the school are being taught in a safe environment. We will be waiting for a report back from the Board of Studies," Dr Refshauge said.

St Joseph's School is inside the Order of St Charbel's fenced compound and currently teaches 31 students from kindergarten to Year 6.

Doomsday cult wins federal cash (The Australian 3/8/04)

Little Pebble to face trial (CathNews 26/11/03)
The Little Pebble website
Letter from Fr. Malcolm Broussard in Defence of the Little Pebble
Letter of Explanation regarding the Actions of 20 March 2002
Statements on Fr Malcolm Broussard, from the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Bishops of Wollongong and Galveston-Houston
Little Pebble disciple cleared of sex assault charges (13/2/03)
'Little Pebble' to face court next month on sex charges (5/11/02)
Church bans NSW South Coast cult 'miracle worker' (18/6/02)

3 Aug 2004