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AASW welcomes historic step taken to protect the most vulnerable in society, with the introduction of a Bill to register social workers in South Australia

Published: 5 September 2018

Steps are being taken to formally register qualified social workers in South Australia, following numerous government reports and coroner’s reports, and input from the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), the national peak body of the profession, with the introduction of a private member’s bill to South Australia’s upper house today.

AASW National President Christine Craik said, “This is an historic day for the protection of the most vulnerable people in society, especially children, which is significant given that this week is National Child Protection Week.

“We have campaigned for years for the registration of social workers in Australia. The purpose of social work registration and regulation is to protect the public from unprofessional practice.

“Regulation will mean that for social workers to gain registration, they will need to have a recognised qualification and be accountable to a Code of Ethics.

“This is especially important for professionals who are doing complex and highly skilled work with very vulnerable people.

“The introduction of today’s legislation is a welcome development and a step towards social workers being registered across the country. When implemented well, it will go a long way towards public confidence in the skills and accountability of Australian social workers.

“Comparable countries such as the UK, USA, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada have long recognised the complexity of social work and have regulatory schemes for social workers. This move is one in the right direction.”

AASW CEO Cindy Smith will attend the tabling of the Bill by The Hon Tammy Franks MLC into the South Australian upper house today, Wednesday, 5 September, which will make provision for the registration of Social Workers and establish a Social Workers Registration Board.

Ms Smith said, “We look forward to continuing to work with Ms Franks, the South Australian Government and all parliamentarians towards progressing this Bill. I think we can all agree the safety of the public, especially vulnerable children, is paramount.”


Christine Craik is available for interview.

Christine Craik is the National President of the AASW and has worked as a social worker in family support, housing, community health and hospitals with a focus on domestic violence, sexual abuse and refugees for almost three decades. Christine currently lectures full time in the undergraduate and post graduate Social Work Degrees at RMIT University, is an active member of many community groups, including Chair of Project Respect, working with women trafficked into the sex industry. Christine holds a Master’s Degree in Social Policy and Management and is currently completing her PhD in domestic and family violence.

Cindy Smith is available for interview in Adelaide on Wednesday, 5 September 2018.

Cindy Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Association of Social Workers. She has over 15 years’ experience as a social worker across a wide range of positions including as a housing worker, counsellor in community health, team leader in out-of-home care, and as general manager of a child, youth and family directorate in community health. Cindy is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, fellow of the Australasian College of Health Services Management.

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Angela Yin
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P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers