Public Education campaign

Celebrating Progress: AASW Recognises Government Efforts to Address Placement Poverty

For Immediate Release 6 May 2024

Today marks a significant step forward as the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) commends the government’s commitment to alleviating financial strain for students facing “poverty placement” during essential, unpaid practical experiences.

AASW CEO Cindy Smith stated, “We applaud this initiative, recognising it as a positive step towards addressing the challenges encountered by students in social work and related fields.”

Smith continues: “We welcome this important initiative, which demonstrates a genuine commitment to student welfare. It’s a promising start, and we look forward to further collaboration to enhance support mechanisms.”

“Our longstanding advocacy efforts have played a pivotal role in raising awareness of the need for improved student assistance,” Smith notes. “It’s a win to see tangible progress in response to our advocacy.”

“While we celebrate this milestone,” Smith said, “We emphasise the importance of ongoing dialogue and collaboration with industry stakeholders. Our expertise and insights can significantly contribute to developing comprehensive solutions that address the range of  challenges students face.”

“Members of our AASW community have voiced concerns regarding financial stress, from student level and beyond,” Smith acknowledges. “By working together, we can bridge these gaps and ensure support for students pursuing careers in critical sectors.”

In response to the government’s announcement, the AASW calls on the Minister of Education to engage in continued dialogue with the association to chart the next steps in supporting students pursuing careers in social work.

The government’s decision to introduce a Commonwealth Prac Payment of $319.50 a week aims to alleviate the financial strain students face undertaking practical placements. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese views this initiative as essential to ensuring that future professionals in critical sectors receive the support they need to complete their education.

“Let’s seize this momentum and continue our collaborative efforts to build a future where all students receive the support they need to excel in their chosen professions. Together, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of future professionals and the communities they serve.” Cindy Smith said.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Loads, Communications Lead

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0403 011 174


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