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Published: 13 November 2020

During NAIDOC Week 2020, the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) has taken an important step towards reconciliation and addressing the structural disadvantage and discrimination experienced by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The AASW has proudly announced an increased Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander representation on its Board with the appointment of Ms Linda Ford as AASW National Vice President and Professor Sue Green as the new Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Director.

Ms Ford is an Aboriginal woman from South West Queensland with 25 years’ experience as a social worker in rural, remote and urban areas. Before her appointment to the Association’s National Vice President role, she was the Association’s elected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director for almost three years and Chair of the AASW Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.

“AASW is deeply committed to reconciliation and the new Board appointments will allow for greater inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders voices. I am delighted to have Professor Sue Green join us on the AASW Board. Her experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we move forward on our journey of learning from the past and working with First Nations Australians, to address the structural disadvantage and discrimination they face in all facets of their lives.”

“The AASW is dedicated to advocating on matters of social inclusion, social justice and human rights for all Australians including our First Nations people. Through our Reconciliation Action Plan we look to continuing our progress from the last few years and will be promoting a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Social Workers and Communities.”

“We have taken the opportunity to increase our First Nations membership on the Board as a clear indication of the path the AASW intends moving forward. We have acknowledged the past and continuing disadvantages imposed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and now we look to promoting and celebrating the strength, courage and self-determination of our First Nations peoples,” Ms Ford said.

Professor Sue Green has an extensive history spanning 20 years in Indigenous Higher Education across a number of roles such as student support, teaching and research. Her research interest includes Welfare History, Indigenising Social Work education and practice, Cultural Responsiveness and Cultural Support, Colonial History and Decolonisation. Her foremost interest is ensuring that Wiradjuri Language and Culture underpins her all aspects of her personal and professional life.

Professor Green said she was very honoured to have been given the opportunity that this new role presents.

“Baladhu dyiramalbang Galari Wiradyuri yinaa (I am a very proud Galari Wiradyuri woman). I am very honoured to take on the role of the Indigenous Director of the Board of AASW and to have this opportunity to work as part of the Board.”

“The role of social workers is to bring about change to the way our society operates and to ensure the wellbeing of all people has never been more important than this current time. The impact of the way we have been living is seen through the yalgu-bu wiinyugamin-bu nanhalngidyal-bu (drought, bushfires and virus).”

“Social workers need to yanhagi (walk) with and yalbiligi (learn) from First Nations bagaraygan-bu, mayiny-bu winhanganidyal-bu (communities, people and knowledge) in order to gain Yindyamala yambuwan marramali marambul-bu waluwin-bu bangalngaarangaara (the wisdom to respectfully know how to create a world worth living in),” she said.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers