AASW National Excellence Award Winners 2022

The AASW congratulates our previous National Excellence Awards winners for their outstanding contributions to Social Work.

AASW Social Worker of the Year 2022

Mary Jo McVeigh

At the present time Mary Jo continues to operate as the CEO of Cara House and CaraCare. Mary Jo is also a lecturer at the social work department at the University of Sydney, where she specialises in domestic and family violence and death and dying. Mary Jo intends to complete her PhD research in December 2023 and is also currently involved in a nation-wide research project known the DICE project. Mary Jo regularly consults to child protection agencies across Australia and internationally. She provides individual and group supervision to several organisations and develops and facilitates training and workshops across the field of child protection.

AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Worker of the Year 2022

Brenda McDermott

Brenda McDermott is a proud Palawa woman from the Manegin Community, Tarkine Nation in Lutruwita (Tasmania). Brenda is currently living on Gunaikurnai Country and is the Senior Aboriginal Engagement Adviser of the Marguk-bulok koolin-ik Aboriginal Outreach, Policy and Strategy Team, Births, Deaths and Marriages and Adoption Services at the Department of Justice and Community Safety of Victoria. Her focus is to advance and represent Aboriginal perspectives in all aspects of life and work; that include truth telling, self-determination, human rights, leadership, and education. Brenda works with the Victorian Aboriginal community to build strong partnerships and is passionate about Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing, cultural safety, social justice and the elimination of racism.

AASW Social Work Student of the Year 2022

Claire Perkins

Claire is a Master of Social Work student at Griffith University and has been an exceptional asset to the Griffith Health Clinics student led social work clinic. She has participated and led numerous client engagements, been proactive in the promoting of the service, showed commitment to LGBTIQAP+ inclusivity, as well as excelling her skills in the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) environment. Claire has taken an active role in being a student leader and participated in growing the MDT team space within the clinic. From this, she has become an instrumental team member in assisting with the development of MDT case conference online modules for new clinic students to access. Claire demonstrated outstanding efforts in the application of social work practice values to achieve effective collaboration and advance the standing of social work in an allied health context.