AASW launches National Policy Platform
Published: 13 April 2022
As Australia prepares for a federal election, the Australian Association of Social Workers has released its Policy Platform, detailing practical and achievable policy recommendations based on three principles: professional integrity, respect for persons and social justice.
These three principles aim to protect service users and deliver dignity to the disenfranchised in our community.
AASW CEO Cindy Smith said, “The protection of service users is paramount for the AASW. We work with the most vulnerable in our society and safety and quality control over the profession needs to be a Commonwealth issue.
“South Australia is the only state with social worker registration, so literally anyone, anywhere else, can call themselves a social worker. This is a dangerous state-of-affairs and we need a change in federal legislation so that all Australian social workers are registered.
“The innocent lives of children and women have been taken by abusive partners or relatives and some of these tragic deaths may have been prevented through systemic changes that professionalise and empower the profession.”
The AASW Policy Platform is informed by robust research and the experiences of our 16,000 members who work across the whole of the health and community service system. Registration of the profession is not the only area that requires action.
Ms Smith said, “We are calling for a social security system that enables people to obtain a minimum standard of health and dignity. We would like to see children given support at school through one social worker to every 500 students, and we would like to see full implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.”
Importantly, the AASW is seeking rightful constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Ms Smith said, “We will be lobbying all parties hard parties over the course of the election campaign. We look forward to working with whomever forms the next government to ensure substantive change starts now.”
About social work
Social workers collaborate with people to improve their lives so that they can flourish and develop their full potential. They intervene to improve health and wellbeing. At the same time social workers also address the underlying structures and systems which lead to inequality and injustice.
Social work is the fastest-growing profession internationally The Labour Market Insights for social work in Australia is very strong, with predicted growth of 15.2% over the next five years.
About the Australian Association of Social Workers
The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is the national professional body representing more than 16,000 social workers throughout Australia. The AASW works to promote the profession of social work including setting the benchmarks for professional education and practice in social work.
About Cindy Smith
Cindy Smith is the CEO of the AASW and is a qualified social worker with more than 20 years of experience, a Bachelor of Social Work, a Master of Health Administration, a Fellow of the Australian College of Health Management and a graduate with the Australian Institute Company Directors.
She has led the AASW since 2016.
To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Angela Yin on 03 9320 1005.