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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander actions

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) respectfully acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first Australians, and pays its respects to elders past and present. We are committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social workers and communities to achieve our vision for reconciliation.

This page includes resources and information about the AASW’s position and engagement on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Third International Indigenous Social Work Conference Darwin 14 - 17 September 2015

We were proud to be a sponsor of this National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Workers Association (NCATSISWA) conference. It brought together indigenous social workers from around the world to share knowledge, experiences and issues affecting Indigenous peoples.

Living where I like - and loving where I live: a presentation by Indigenous social worker, Kylie Stothers

Kylie Stothers is a proud indigenous social worker in the Northern Territory and her inspiring presentation, Living where I like - and loving where I live, was delivered at the 13th National Rural Health Conference in Darwin in May 2015.

AASW resource: Preparing for culturally responsive and inclusive practice in Australia

Essential to social work practice in Australia is an understanding of the different cultures, practices, histories, knowledge, strengths and capacities of Indigenous Australians as well as the historical and continuing disadvantages experienced by this group.

Following extensive consultation, the AASW has developed the information sheet, Preparing for culturally responsive and inclusive social work practice in Australia. It aims to help and support internationally trained social workers as they develop the knowledge, understanding and practice approaches required to work effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

As the information is general and introductory only, we encourage all social workers to engage in ongoing continuing professional development about culturally responsive and inclusive practice in Australia.

Perpetual Calendar for Reconciliation and Health

This ACT Council of Social Service calendar includes significant dates and anniversaries for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider community throughout the year. View the calendar here.

Recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Constitution

The AASW encourages members to be involved in the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution. One way is to visit the ‘Recognise’ website here and register your support. For more information, read the ‘Final Report of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act of Recognition Review Panel’ available here.

Introducing the AASW Reconciliation Ambassadors

Reconciliation is the business of all social workers, and is about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and non-Torres Strait Islander Australians talking and working together to achieve equality in Australia. An important strategy identified in the AASW inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is to progress the appointment of Reconciliation Ambassadors and champions.

The AASW Reconciliation Ambassadors:

  • Ms Pamela Trotman (Northern Territory Branch member)
  • Mr Andrew-James (AJ) Williams-Tchen (Victorian Branch member)
  • Norma Tracey (NSW Branch member)
  • Cate Osborn (NSW Branch member)
  • Shiri Goldgamer-Hergass (NSW Branch member)

The AASW warmly welcomes and acknowledges their leadership to the profession and their contributions to the reconciliation agenda in Australia. The appointment of further Reconciliation Ambassadors are still welcome. For further information about how you could contribute as a Reconciliation Ambassador or to nominate someone, please refer to the Role Description or contact reconciliation@aasw.asn.au

Joint World Conference Scholarships

The Board is pleased to have provided two AASW Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Scholarships for the Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development held in Melbourne in July 2014. The recipients of the scholarships were Julieann Hall and Dameyon Bonson. Julieann is an Aboriginal woman, AASW student member and an AASW Reconciliation Taskforce member, in Broken Hill, New South Wales. Dameyon is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man and AASW student member in Broome, Western Australia. Dameyon and Julieann will share their learnings and experiences from the conference in the Spring edition of the AASW National Bulletin and on the AASW website following the conference.

AASW signs Statement of Intent on National Close the Gap Day

As part of National Close the Gap Day on 20 March 2014, Anita Phillips (AASW Board Director) and Glenys Wilkinson (AASW CEO) proudly signed on behalf of the AASW the Statement of Intent between Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) and its Member Organisations.

The Statement of Intent sets out our commitment to work together to achieve equality in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030.

Photo: Senator Fiona Nash, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda and AASW board director Anita Phillips at the National Close the Gap Day signing.

Aboriginal Board Director

Since 2011/12, the AASW Board has included the appointment of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Director. This position is currently held by Josephine Lee, an Aboriginal woman from northern Queensland, who has been working and living in Darwin for the past 15 years.

Commitment to Reconciliation

The AASW is strongly committed to leading and supporting reconciliation within our sphere of influence. The AASW’s vision for Reconciliation is to increase understanding across the Australian social work profession and more broadly, about the histories and culture of the First Australians, to celebrate their achievement and resilience and to develop meaningful relationships founded on respect. The AASW launched its Reconciliation Action Plan on 23 November 2013.

Special Reconciliation edition of National Bulletin

The Autumn (March) 2014 National Bulletin was a special Reconciliation edition.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AASW members were invited to share their social work practice histories, stories, knowledge and experience for publication on the AASW website. These are such important stories to be told.

In addition, non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AASW members were also invited to share articles regarding their contributions to reconciliation in Australia.

2004 AASW Statement of Apology

The AASW issued a statement in 2004 apologising for past wrongs committed against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including the role of social work in these wrongs. Click here to read the statement.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social policy issues

The AASW has engaged in policy issues and presented submissions on a range of relevant issues. For example, the AASW endorsed the ACOSS position on the NT intervention in 2007, and presented to the Senate Community Affairs Committee in 2009. The AASW has opposed income management. The AASW also has position statements on Indigenous health and Indigenous education and training.

Connections

The AASW is connected to the following Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. We are also working to develop and strengthen our working relationship and partnerships with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and services as part of our commitment to reconciliation.

Indigenous Allied Health Australia

The AASW strongly supported the creation of the IAHA. AASW member, Kylie Stothers, is a member of the IAHA Board.

National Coalition or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Workers Association

The AASW strongly supports the work of NCATSISWA, a national organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social workers. Together we promote the profession of social work within these communities and enable the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to access the knowledge, skills and networks of the profession.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers