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North Queensland Branch

Branch Overview

The North Queensland Branch supports over 350 AASW members, hosting a range of activities open to all Social Workers.

The North Queensland Branch is committed to promoting social work excellence within the northern communities of Queensland. We service and represent Social Workers from north of latitude 22, from Clairview on the coast through Moranhbah, the Mackay region, north to the Cape and west to the QLD/NT border.

We are committed to the three core social work values that are crucial for our profession:

  1. Respect for Persons
  2. Social Justice
  3. Professional Integrity

Our voluntary Branch Management Committee members have a wealth of knowledge and experience from working within varying sectors of the community and are here to offer support and representation for Social Workers within our region.

We encourage members to contact the North Queensland Branch Manager with issues of interest or concern.

Jane Berkley
Branch Manager


Branch Spotlight

More than $1.8 m for sexual assault partnership in Townsville (28 July 2020)

The trial of a specialist Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) in Townsville will become permanent with new funding of more than $1.8 million over five-years from the Palaszczuk Government for the North Queensland Combined Women’s Service.

Townsville’s SART is a multi-agency approach involving police, health, forensic services, and sexual assault counsellors to connect victims with the services they need from the moment they report an offence, through to their court hearing.

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said an independent evaluation of the Townsville-based SART had been positive.

Cairns welcomes two new domestic and family violence liaison officers (23 July 2020)

Minister for Police Mark Ryan joined Assistant Commissioner Brett Schafferius to welcome two new domestic and family violence liaison officers to the Far North. Minister Ryan said Domestic and Family Violence Units within the Queensland Police Services were critical to ending violence in the home. "I’m pleased to help welcome Senior Constable Naomi Townsend and Senior Constable Casey Leishman to their new roles as liaison officers," he said. "The Palaszczuk Government and Queensland police are committed to protecting victims and holding perpetrators to account."

“These new liaison officers will play a major role working with the community to drive a shift in attitudes and behaviours when it comes to domestic and family violence.” In addition to the two new senior constables, this unit also includes three sergeants and covers the entire Far North Police District from Cardwell in the south, Croyden in the west and including the Torres Strait Islands. Assistant Commissioner Schafferius said police were committed to supporting vulnerable persons and holding perpetrators of domestic and family violence to account.

During Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month in May, the QPS developed an online reporting method for vulnerable people as an alternative contact option for non-urgent matters. More information is available at

A messaging service has also been developed which allows deaf, hearing-impaired, and vulnerable persons in Queensland to contact police for non-urgent matters. More information is available at 444/message-service-for-deaf-hearing-impaired-and-vulnerable-persons

New wellbeing resources website launched (14 July 2020)

A new wellbeing resources website called WellMob has been launched at
The inspiration for the WellMob website came from frontline health and wellbeing workers, who said they needed a one-stop-shop to easily access culturally relevant resources to use with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. WellMob brings together over 200 videos, apps, podcasts, and other websites in the one place and is free to access. The website was developed by eMHPrac (e-mental health in practice) in partnership with the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet. The easy to use visual format will support those who work in mental health, family support, education, and youth services.

Adoption an option for children in long-term care (14 July 2020)

Adoption will be clarified as a genuine option to be considered for vulnerable young Queenslanders under changes to the state’s Child Safety Act. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said legislation introduced to Parliament would enhance permanency for children in long-term care.

In 2018, the Palaszczuk Government was the first in Australia to include permanency options in the Child Protection Act.

“The inclusion of adoption as a long-term care option demonstrates the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to building a stronger child protection system and a future for Queensland’s most vulnerable,” the Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer. Ms Farmer said that, accompanying these amendments would be changes in the way Child Safety pursues permanency for the children in the Department’s care. These will include:

  • Review of the implementation of permanency reforms to date, including the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle;
  • Establishment of a new, senior position in the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women (DCSYW) dedicated to overseeing improved permanency outcomes across the department;
  • Case Plan audits for all children in care under three years old to assess whether further permanency planning is required;
  • Targeted work with current foster and kinship carers to assess permanency options for children who have been in their care for more than two year;
  • Quarterly reporting on the status of permanency planning for children in care, including numbers of children on permanent care orders or other long-term orders;
  • All decisions recommending adoption be pursued as an option for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child in care will be personally reviewed by the Director-General, DCSYW and this responsibility will not be delegated.

The Bill has been referred to the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee ( ) for inquiry review.

Awareness campaign to connect families with services (14 July 2020)

A new social media campaign has launched to connect families struggling with addiction, family violence or housing crisis to the right services to unite and recover from COVID-19.

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said the digital campaign would run until the end of September to promote the Family and Child Connect (FaCC) 13-FAMILY (13-32-64) hotline number.

Family and Child Connect link families to local services that can help with: managing children’s behaviour; building stronger family relationships; stopping any violence at home; budgeting and managing money; alcohol, drug or gambling problems, and housing, health care or other community or government services.

The Palaszczuk Government also provides funding to give Queensland families free access to the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program. Contact FaCC on 13FAMILY (13-32-64) for free and confidential advice.

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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers