See More

AASW welcomes rethink on cost of social work degrees  

Published: 25 August 2020

AASW welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement that social work will be moved to a lower tier of fees in its reform package, in recognition of the essential role it plays in mental health, health and community services.

AASW President Christine Craik said, “In our discussions with Education Minister Dan Tehan and other stakeholders, we argued that the proposed changes would have significant workforce impacts on essential social work services and would therefore negatively affect the supports provided to individuals, groups and communities across Australia, including regional, rural and remote areas.

“We welcome this reconsideration as a reasoned outcome for the future workforce that Australia needs.

“Australia is recovering from a catastrophic bushfire season and a once in a generation pandemic that will have major long-term impacts on the health and wellbeing of all Australians. We need to ensure we have the social work workforce to support people in crisis and recovery. The fee increase, as it stood, would have had the opposite effect.”

Social work is an essential workforce, providing vital supports across every major social issue, including health, mental health, disability, family violence, child protection and aged care, and has been identified as such throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social work is a “job ready” degree, with Bachelors and qualifying Masters having 1000 hours of field education, which is a distinctive pedagogy for social work education. According to the Federal Government’s own data, there is expected to be significant growth in the workforce over the next five years.

Ms Craik said, “While this announcement addresses the concerns for the future social work workforce, we will continue to advocate for other courses and future students who will be adversely impacted by the reform package. We need to ensure, especially at this time, that the most vulnerable in our community including young people, older Australians, those living with a disability and those with income and housing insecurity, have the professional workforce they need and deserve. We can’t allow less.”

Ends

To interview Christine Craik, please contact Ellie Cooper on 0413 532 954.

AASW National President Christine Craik: Christine has worked as a social worker in family support, housing, community health and hospitals with a focus on family violence, sexual abuse and refugees for almost three decades. Christine holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Management and is currently completing her PhD. Christine currently lectures in the undergraduate and postgraduate social work degrees at RMIT University.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers